बिहीबार, साउन २२ २०७७
काठमाडौं १३:११
वासिङटन डिसी 03:26

Effects of the abuse of freedom

By Mohan Ghimire, USA, Virginia २०७७ असार १० गते २१:४८ मा प्रकाशित

Fundamental rights are a sum of rights which have been established with a high degree of protection from interfering. These rights are specifically recognized in the constitution. Equality, freedom, against exploitation, freedom of religion, culture, education, constitutional remedies, travel, marriage, vote and privacy are major fundamental rights. These rights are protected in the constitution and other laws in every state. If there are any violations of these rights, court examines the high level scrutiny. The government must show the necessity to protect the compelling and significant importance of governmental interests for the outcome. Right and freedom have a completely different meaning although it may seem similar. A right is a common prerogative which is given to the all citizens equally. It is a substantial part of the fundamental rights. On the other hand, freedom is an objective set of the rights. Everyone doesn’t have obstacle to conduct the action. Nobody can constrain to practice your right to freedom.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of partitions. Whenever the government seeks to regulate the freedom of speech or assembly, the court will weigh the great importance of speech and assembly right against the interest or policies sought to be served by the regulation. The free speech restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not require the government to aid private speech nor restrict the government from expressing its views. Speech and assembly regulations can generally be categorized as either content regulations or conduct regulations such as: time limitation and the sound level of the speech. It is presumptively unconstitutional to place burdens on speech because of its content except for certain categories of speech such as obscenity, defamation, etc. Conduct related to speech can be regulated by content-neutral time, place and manner restrictions.

All freedoms are not absolutely protected and not exercising. Some of the unprotected rights of freedoms are:

  • Inciting Imminent Lawless Action: Freedom of speech can be burdened if it creates a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action. It must be shown that the imminent illegal conduct is likely and that the speaker intended to cause it.
  • Fighting words: True threats are not protected due to the life of another The speech also cannot be burdened if it constitutes fighting word. Personally abusive words that is likely to incite immediate physical retaliation in an average person. Words that are merely annoying are sufficient.
  • Obscenity: Obscene speech is not protected.
  • Defamatory speech: Defamatory statements can be burdened, but, if the defamatory statement is about a public official or public figure or involves public concern, public officer much show the falsity and degree of fault. Defamatory language is not protected by the constitution and other laws.
  • Commercial speech: As a general rule, commercial speech is protected, if it is truthful. However, commercial speech that proposes unlawful activities or that is misleading or fraudulent may not be protected. If there any reasons to restrict the freedom of speech, the government must show the compelling government interest.

Another important freedom is the freedom of the press. Generally, the press has no greater freedom than does a private citizen. The press has the right to publish truthful information regarding the matter of public concerns and this right can be restricted only by a sanction with important government interest. Press can be restricted to interview with prisoners which imply that the press does not have an absolute right to enter certain areas but in practice, press seem to think otherwise. Press must also pay the tax under the regulation. Radio, television, cable television and internet are under the government regulation. These are not absolute right of the press.

Freedom of association is another important right of the people to show their political affiliation and express their thoughts. Assembly, picketing and protesting can be restricted as a matter of content, conduct, time, place and manner.

Results of extreme use of freedom:

Economic crisis: The country faces an economic problem in various sectors.  Economic harms are loss of profits, wages, earnings, future earning capacity, value and real and personal property value. Economic damage is the measurement of these losses which often result from a harmful act.

Cultural imbalance: Cultural imbalance commonly leads individuals to miss or ignore the importance of thoughts, practice, norms, values, heritage, traditions and the hierarchy of the society.

The concept of racism: It creates prejudice, discrimination, antagonism against a person or people on the basis of their membership, color, religion, culture, norms, values and areas of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a color, religion or place.

Crimes: Intentionally or unintentionally crimes increase in the society. Murdering, looting, shoplifting, trespassing, traffic violations, robbing, burglary and strict liability crimes are increasing in the society.

Negativism:  The social practice always faces or tends to be negative or skeptical in attitude while failing to offer positive suggestions or views. Due to watching television, listening to radio, a witness protest on the street enforces the child, youth and societal member’s mind into the negative thoughts. It impacts the creation of our future generation negatively and ultimately affects the multiple dimensions of achievements in the future.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the movement created on the name of black lives matters due to the killing of George Floyd by police, the United States of America lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Due to extreme use of freedom from the people at this moment, the United States of America has been facing a lot of political and economic problems as well. It creates a dispute between states and federal implementing different approaches to control the protest movement. State and federal have separate interest and own definition of the constitution for their own political gain. Nonviolence and peaceful protests are protected by the US constitution. However, recent protesters have been involved in the criminal activities.

As a result, the country has lost billions of dollars and the job market has also been impacted. Peaceful movement is a freedom of expression with freedom of speech but, if it goes out of control and the protesters abuse the freedom of speech or assembly, it converts into the criminal and uncivilized society.  Therefore, while exercising one’s rights, it is important to look at the damage to the country, society and community. We must pay attention to the principle of law that the exercise of one’s rights should not infringe on the rights of others.