February 13, 2001    





What are the current threats to freedom of expression?

I think that the right-wing "family values" groups are very damaging to free expression. They go on and on about the depravity on television, on the radio, on the internet. They keep trying to impose their morals on the general public. Well the solution is simple... if you don't like it, don't watch it! Don't buy that cd if it offends you. Don't go to that art exibit if it is so terrible. Keep your "family values" where they belong... in YOUR family. It is their job as parents to protect their kids from what they think is morally unacceptable, society shouldn't have to censor itself for them. Grrr... can you tell I have issues with this?

Maggie, 20
, IL   USA

Fear of open discussion, entrenched self-interest and a distrust of human rationality. A fourth factor in limiting free speech is an uninformed electorate.

Jill, 60

I don't know. I really shouldn't say what I'm thinking because everybody will get mad at me. Oh wait--am I accidentally indirectly answering the question?

Karen, 21

Most of them right now are internal, poeple who think they have nothing to say or nothing to gain by saying anything. The fear of censorship is the worst censor.

Alias Irrelevante

The Digital Divide   http://www.digitaldivide.org

Jami, 27
, MA   USA

Mostly fear, as always. Fear of retribution, fear of financial or emotional loss, fear of disapproval.

Jane, 60
West Linn
, OR   USA

Gobs of mindless mass media designed to plug consumer goods but packaged as "information" and "news." Hard to think freely if your worldview is shaped by these things.

Felicia, 35

The current threats aren't really so current but have been the same for years and are still around. This expression is music. Lyrics to a song are merely the expression of an artist. Eminem is just one example.  His music should not be knocked down because of what he says. Many people feel the same way but don't wish to express it insuch a way as he. If parents are so concerned about what their kids listen too, watch them, monitor their actions and moods. I think all music is wonderful be it classical or rap.

Stephanie, 25

The current threats to freedom of expression is censorship on television. If a TV show wanted to show nudity, so be it. It is the parents' responsibility to control what their children watch at an early age.

Jason, 21
, NY   USA

I'd have to think about that one, but I do have something to say about freedom of expression so I'll just ramble a bit. Currently the city of Charlottesville, Virginia (USA - where 3rd president Thomas Jefferson lived and built the University of Virginia) is thinking about putting a giant chalkboard across from City Hall. They would allow anything to be written there, and government officials wouldn't be allowed to erase anything. Opponents are saying that the board will be filled with profanity, vulgarity, and "inappropriate" comments. I disagree. When I was in my senior year of high school, a new school building was opened and we moved into that one. One of the hallways, leading to the gymnasium, had walls covered in washable tile. Students were allowed to put anything they wanted on the Graffiti Walls, except profanity - the school administration would come erase any of that. But for the most part, students kept things clean and gave good opinions. Periodically the wall would be washed clean and everything started over. Not only did this give us more freedom of expression, but it kept graffiti down in the rest of the school. Those arguing against Charlottesville's chalkboard seem to have the upper hand, but personally I hope it goes through.

etoile, 20

The FCC, various major store chains (walmart, for instance) that censor the music they sell.

Talia, 23
, CT    USA

The current threats to freedom of expression is censorship on television. If a TV show wanted to show nudity, so be it. It is the parents' responsibility to control what their children watch at an early age.

Jason, 20
Oneata, NY   USA

I would say censorship of the Internet, books, and anything else...like, people who want to protect others from themselves. My attitude is I have watched the most violent movies on Earth, and listen to violent music, and I am as non-violent as one can be....one thing I believe in is it is easy to protect speech we believe in, the real test is protecting speech me find offensive...I think some famous Supreme Court guy said that.

Bruno, 31
, CO   USA

I hate, hate, hate banning and censorship. It's this simple: if you don't want to hear it, read it, or see it, don't buy it. Change the channel. See a different movie. Even if we don't agree with it, art is art, expression is expression. Voice your opinion but don't try to censor or stop it! People see the "bad words" in something like "The Catcher in the Rye" and ignore the amazing work within it, or they protest outside an Eminem concert looking like idiots. Just go home, don't listen to it! Anyways, that's it. Also, Congressmen who want to ban flag-burning are a little cracked, too.

Katie2, 18
, MI   USA

The only major one I can think of is the law against raves in some areas. This is just about the only major way I can express myself, and now they're going to go and stop it! Not all ravers go to raves to do drugs and trip out- I'm sure for every one who goes just for the drugs, there are three that go for the experience. It makes me sick sometimes to see the media stereotype the scene.

Jeremy, 13
Highlands Ranch

oh gee I don't know. . . . Certainly not the Bush administration. . .

mothmc, 36
Los Angeles

Science and Technology, religion/schools....George W. Bush, Politics, and our school administration...

Adrianne, 15

Political leaders attempting to legislate a standard of decency.  There simply is no way to establish a code of decency that will satisfy everyone in a community, as everyone's scale is different. If I find a work of art or a book or a song personally objectionable, I can simply not look at it, not read it, or not listen to it. If I had children and didn't want them exposed to it, it is MY responsibility, not the community's responsibility, to keep them from it.

Kim, 30
New York
, NY   USA

Well, I don't think it was ever intended for us to do just ANYTHING we want.

Lisa J., 22

Yesterday / Tomorrow