Freedom of Speech in Mass Media: Why should it be protected?

Essay by cheungUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2002

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Have you noticed that there are an increase number of phone-in programs in television and radio after 1997 in Hong Kong? And more people participate in the open forum discussion of public policy? All these reflect people in Hong Kong are more eager to express their opinion and more value their freedom of speech than in the past. Freedom of speech is not only being respected in Hong Kong, but also every part of the world. According to the 'Declaration of Human Right' of United Nation, freedom of speech is an essential part of human right that every human born to have and should not be restricted. Why is it important to have free speech? And why the freedom of speech in mass media should be protected?

In this essay, we will clarify what is freedom, the reason of respecting freedom of speech and what will be the consequence if it is not protected, in the view of J.

S. Mill, according to his book 'On Liberty'.

II.What is freedom?

We often regard freedom as the absence of constraint and can do what he or she wants to do when he wants to do and where he wants to do it. However, according to Mills, Freedom is based on the 'Harm Principle'. The principle states that 'power can only exercised against a person's will to prevent harm to others', that means an individual's own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient excuse to do whatever he wants. An individual is free to think and act as he pleases under two conditions: firstly, one's action will not harm others; secondly, one's inaction will not harm others.

Thus, Mill argued that we are never justified in silencing the expression of any opinion, even if the...