Monday, October 08, 2007

Freedom of Speech Versus Decency

Colorado Student Newspaper Editor Admonished But Will Keep Job in Bush F-Word Editorial Debacle

I might be a little late sounding off about this one, but here goes:

I found the remarks referred to in this story to be offensive. I don't think the "F" word is appropriate for a publication which wants to be thought of as "professional." Journalistic integrity should guide what is printed. If I lived where this publication was sold, I would refuse to purchase it.

It's the right of the editor of a newspaper to print whatever he or she thinks is appropriate for the story at hand. It's also the right of the owner of that newspaper to censure or fire that person. It's also the right of everyone to purchase or not purchase copies of that publication as they see fit.

We have the right to express whatever opinion we want about anything we want. That right is bestowed upon us by the Constitution. Should there be limits? Yes, if someone can be hurt, actually really hurt, there should be a limit imposed. If someone is merely offended by what is said, there should be no limit on it.

Think about this. If we limit speech (or press or media) for one reason, what's to stop us from limiting it for other reasons? Eventually, we slide down the proverbial slippery slope to limiting speech for any and all reasons.

I read this quote by Robert Jackson a few weeks ago and I thought it very true: "The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish." Here, here!

Let that young man have his 15 minutes of fame. Whether you agree with him or not, he has the right to express his opinion.

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