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HSH728 Health Equity And Human Rights

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HSH728 Health Equity And Human Rights Question: For this assessment task, you need to write 500 words in response to the following question: What is the difference between freedom of speech and hate speech? In your response, you might consider: the impact of speech on health the direction of speech (from who to who) the role of the press in free and hate speech Answer: Introduction: Liberty and limitation are concepts often placed on opposite ends with a seemingly hard to find middle ground. Liberty is always viewed as opposed to limitation and vice versa. Freedom of speech and hate speech present a similar situation. While one seeks to protect an individual’s right to express oneself, the other suppresses that right by providing laws to regulate the content of speech. The key issue underlying regulations on both free speech and hate speech is the ability of speech to cause harm (Strossen, 2018). Direction Of Speech Free speech allows for expression of both people; in power and those being governed, the rich and the poor, the young and elderly. In essence, free speech encourages equality in the freedom of expression while hate speech is mainly from a point of superiority (Doyle, 2018). With changing times, a position is sought to promote democracy as well as protect individual rights. This results into the application of laws that govern both freedom of speech and hate speech to achieve a balance between the two (Herz and Molna?r, 2012). Impact Of Speech On Health. Speech, in both its positive and negative forms is mainly viewed with regard to politics, religion and other such aspects but its role in health is underestimated. Take for instance the mental health of an individual who has to listen to degrading comments on his race, ethnicity, social status or physical appearance. Body shaming as well as other forms of defamatory speech have especially become rampant in the wake of cyber bulling that may arise out of unchecked freedom of speech (Strossen, 2018). Role Of Media In Freedom And Hate Speech. Having looked at the perception of both freedom of speech and hate speech, it’s important to find out how both are propagated. The press plays a major role in this respect. Various states have put in place mechanisms to provide for freedom of the media and this is vital in encouraging free speech. Such provisions ensure the media is protected as it carries out its mandate to provide information to the public. In that respect, free speech is encouraged positively, a major shift from past times when dictatorial governments regulated information to the disadvantage of citizens. Although the press has made steps in free speech, hate speech has also been propagated through the same media. The press as stated by Peter Feeney, has a role to not only air news but also has a responsibility to consumers and should not propagate information that may cause harm (Feeney, 2017). By airing hate speech by certain individuals, the media propagates negativity which may result in conflict among ethnic groups or war based on race and other unwanted outcomes. It is therefore inevitable to conclude that the press in propagating what may seem to be ‘interesting’ information, consider the effect it will have. Conclusion: A middle ground between freedom of speech and regulation of the same using standard parameters for all members of the society is the way forward to ensure protection of rights for all .In dealing with hate speech, everything should be done but freedom of speech should not be curtailed and hopefully find the much needed central position. References: Doyle, E. (2018). Freedom of speech on campus. Greenhaven Publishing LLC, p.95. Feeney, P. (2017). Combatting Hate Speech in Print and Broadcasting Media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Aug. 2018]. Herz, M. and Molna?r, P. (2012). The content and context of hate speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.134- 426. Strossen, N., 2018. HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship. Oxford University Press, pp. 12-165

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