Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Benefits of Freedom of Speech

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Benefits of Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is one of the major achievements of international community in Afghanistan.  Since, during the Taliban regime there was only on radio station called “Voice of Sharia.″ Currently Afghanistan has numerous television channels, radio stations, and daily newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines.  Additionally, Afghans enjoy a heavy presence in social media websites such as Facebook, Tweeter and You Tube.  Many people have their personal weblogs; websites provides news and commentaries in multi languages. As, freedom of expression is the fundamental requirements of developing a democratic society it is highly appreciated via educated Afghans. Open discussion, exchange of ideas, freedom of research and criticism will effectively operate the process of search for the facts. The freedom of expression is deemed as the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the foremost requirements for self-development of the individuals.  Freedom of speech consists of three components. The first component is obtaining information to establish an opinion.  The second component is the freedom of opinion. The final component is the declaration and spreading of thought and opinion via all means of expression to the world.  Accordingly, all three of these steps are crucial to maintain the foundation of freedom of speech in Afghanistan. 
In addition, freedom of speech is one of the core values of democratic government. There is a linkage between the freedom of speech and democracy existed today. Democracy is the pre-condition of freedom of speech. History shows that, many deeply divided post-war societies finally have turned to democracy as a way to exit intractable conflict.  Afghanistan is one of the countries that trapped in violent conflict. For the fact, Afghans are supporting true democracy, good governance and accountability. From long time ago, freedom of speech was one of the dreams and wishes of intellectual Afghans. Freedom of speech is an essential part of democracy, a political system, which involves citizens in decision-making. Freedom of speech functions as corner stone - involves the people in making law and protecting the law with the people too.  Furthermore, freedom of expression is the foundation of other freedoms.  
The freedom of obtaining information and freedom of access to information in a free environment are the keystone of formation an opinion or thought.  Moreover, it allows a person to fulfill his/her need to know and learn. The right to access accurate and undistorted information is the requirement of freedom of information, which needs the right to receive information from publicly available sources, without facing an obstruction. While the right to information is inherently, a freedom associated with hearing, seeing and reading freedom of expression is associated with talking, discussing and writing. The right to have access to information is the humankind’s fundamental need of self-development. The European Convention on Human Rights shows the importance it gives to freedom of information and freedom of learning in Article 10, by stating that, freedom of expression covers giving or receiving news or ideas without the intervention of the official authorities. In addition, freedom of information recognized as the rights without borders. (Finkelnburg, 1998). In other words through freedom of the expression civil society controls, discover and form opinions about the ideas and attitudes of their political leaders. In particular, it gives politicians the opportunity to reflect and comment on the preoccupations of public opinion; it thus enables everyone to participate in the free political debate, which is at the very core of the concept of a democratic society.
The second element of freedom of expression is freedom of opinion  which is regarded as having an absolute qualification, opinion and thought that is not possible to restrict in a democratic society.  Freedom of opinion means the information obtained in philosophical, theological, social, political and economic areas in an environment that guarantees freedom of the right to access information and learning, an individual is able to choose the views that he or she believes to be true and not be condemned for that view. In addition to the right to receive news and information, it can say that freedom of opinion is a very important element of freedom of expression. It is the last step of the thinking process that takes place at the inner world of the individual.  The limitation of an area like freedom of opinion, which concerns the inner world of an individual with legal norms, cannot be associated with democratic principles. Freedom of opinion, which is among the most essential facilities of a democratic society, represents the choice to adopt a thought or an opinion without the fear of persecution. It is required to state that freedom of opinion contains the freedom of silence as well.
The last is the freedom of declaration of ideas and opinions, which is the most operative and important element of freedom of speech. The freedom of declaration of ideas are the expression of thoughts. The right to receive news and information and the freedom of forming and holding opinions can only make sense with the freedom of declaration of ideas and opinions. In the general sense, the notion of declaration of ideas constitutes the reflection of an individual from the information he/she has received from the outer world.  There are many mediums to deliver ideas and opinions. The speech or writings of an individual or a collective organization is an example of such mediums. Meetings, demonstrations, unfurling banners, posters, associations, organized attitudes, actions, movements conducted via the political parties, can count as examples of expression.
In the context of Afghanistan human rights and freedom, together with the right to live, the freedom of expression considered as one of the most important achievements of both international community and Afghans authority in the country. Therefore, educated Afghans have concern of losing the success for the sake of peace.  Additionally, since it is one of the requirements of a democratic society if it is violated, then society would be left open to the establishment of an oppressive system - turning back to the autocracy / dictatorship. Respecting the three elements of freedom of expression like freedom of information, freedom of opinion and freedom of declaration guarantee true democracy in Afghanistan.

Dawlat Bakhtiari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan..

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