Editorial: Know the power of Freedom of Speech

by Staff

The recent tragedy at the  Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris have sparked a worldwide controversy about freedom of speech and rights that are often taken for granted. As journalists and editors of this newspaper, we have a duty to our peers and our generation  to uphold these rights, as well as utilize this freedom in our pages and spread the voices of this community.

Free speech provides opportunities for thought-provoking conversations and responses to current events.

Although the opportunities behind free speech are often controversial, the rebuttal to any offense is only viable through the very freedom some choose to condemn. The ability to speak ones mind, free from criminal prosecution, allows the sharing of ideas, good and bad, and is absolutely essential to a functioning and informed society.

Now more than ever, freedom of speech is often under attack. In a recent poll, a third of those surveyed believed the First Amendment goes too far in protecting free speech — a 13 percent increase from previous years.

The mixed views toward free speech are often due to a lack of understanding about the protection itself. Not many people thoroughly grasp the weight of the rights that would be taken away if free speech wasn’t in play. The task of upholding free speech is more than exercising the right, it’s also necessary to be knowledgeable about these powers to use them for all the possibilities they present.

Without free speech, the mere foundation of education on this campus would be diminished.  Freedom of speech is backed by transparency and the voices of many.

That is why The Daily Aztec not only accepts, but encourages students, faculty and staff to submit Letters to the Editor on behalf of any campus issues — because free speech doesn’t only prosper in the hands of those holding the pen, but for those upholding the protection.