Freedom of Speech – a Comment

Jean Ngendahimana is a journalist and human rights activist from Rwanda. Right now he studies digital media at Hamburg media school. For myvoice-project he comments on the freedom of speech.

Boehmermann and the freedom of speech: Germany should step forward to convince dictatorship regimes of the importance of this freedom to the social economic development of the citizens.

Freedom of speech is the right to speak without censorship or restraint by the government. Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution in different countries around the world.

Without this guaranteed freedom, unpopular opinions would be hidden out of fear of retribution, change and progress would come to a screeching halt and all of the other freedoms listed throughout the Constitution and all of the amendments that follow would crumble and positive propaganda would be the only one on spotlight.

You can give to a person everything he wants, but when you don’t give him to express what he feels or think, your work will be in vain.

In my opinion, when the freedom of speech becomes on question, for example with Deutsch TV presenter to the Turkish president, the problem should be solved by mutual understanding between two parties. It is not a matter of government or states but a matter to civil law.

This means that Boehmermann would not be brought to the court of law but be given the chance to solve the problem with the Turkish president Erdogan. If he can be convinced that his poem to the president was wrong, then he can write an excuse and pass it in the same media.

People should hold critics and accept what they consider as negative opinion, comments or ideas and have the bravery to ask why. Without this, the powerful people would be the only one to express themselves according to the framework.

As someone, who has been a victim of lacking this freedom, I do understand that, where this freedom lacks, there are oppression, dictatorship, corruption on high level, injustice and mostly human right violation to the original citizens.

This is the freedom that many dictatorship regimes across the world have fear of, because it’s the only way where citizens require their leaders’ accountability, transparency and rule of law. In developed countries like Germany, where this freedom is guaranteed, the government should step forward to convince other countries mostly in Africa and Asia of the importance and link of this freedom to the social economic development of the citizens.

It’s true that where this freedom is not guaranteed and respected, the development is a dream. The history has been on this side.

Text: Jean Ngendahimana (Email: j.ngendahimana@hamburgmediaschool.com)