Free speech has long been recognised as a common law right within Britain, and was incorporated as such by the Human Rights Act 1998. It also has statutory basis in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR provides the right to the freedom of expression, subject to certain restrictions that are in accordance with law. The basic right includes the freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and share information and ideas, without receiving any interference by public authority. The ECHR is an international treaty which aims to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.
The United Nations also has some basic human freedoms that they (arguably pretend to) uphold and respect. One of those being the basic human right to free speech. Although the United Nations are not the beacon of peace that they are marketed out to be, their Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is well known, which was adopted by the General Assembly back in 1948. This also guarantees every human being the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The United States and Canada, as well as other nations, have a Constitution which protects the natural right of their citizens to free speech, and freedom of expression. The current trend of “politically correct” speech is also a slippery slope on majority-approved speech, which infringes upon the basic human liberties of the citizen whose speech happens to fall within the minority at the time; what is considered “politically correct” is ever-changing. The politically correct regime, and any other attempt at intruding upon establishing some check-list of what words an individual is allowed to speak, is nothing short of tyranny, and a gross violation to a basic human right and liberty.
Although there exists multiple legislation which protects the basic right to free speech, authorities still infringe upon that basic liberty. Take for instance, bill HR 347 in the United States, which criminalizes free speech, and freedom of expression, when any individuals are around who are under the Secret Service protection. Individuals could be protesting in an area where they are unaware of the presence of someone who has Secret Service protection, and they would be arrested for simply exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression.
Recently, Harris Academy in South London, has banned its students from using “slang words,” in an apparent attempt to crack down on the use of urban language, and improving vocabulary. Some of the words being banned: coz, we woz, innit, like, bare, aint, extra, you woz. As well as banning sentences that begin with ‘basically,’ or that end with the word ‘yeah’. The secondary school will no longer be tolerating the slang words, they want the students to develop soft skills that they will need to compete for jobs and university places claimed a Harris Academy spokesperson. The institution is one of 27 academies and free schools in and around London sponsored by the Harris Federation. The Harris Federation is a not-for-profit charity. With their unapologetic infringement upon free speech, their stance on personal liberty is a rather unappealing one.