Sri VIS students in a debate with students from Nigeria, Vietnam, Bhatinda, etc., in Commonwealth Online debate on Freedom of Speech

Enjoying freedom of speech and belief is an essential part of our global journey towards universal human rights. But what is freedom of speech and what does it actually mean?

Students of Sri VIS pondered over this thought and expressed their views in the Commonwealth Online Debate on 12 May 2016, an endeavour of the British Council Schools Online programme.

Read the musings of the students on the idea of Freedom of Speech :

A person who does not have the right to express himself is similar to a body without a soul. Like a body tends to decay without a soul, person who does not have the right to speak or express fades away in terms of confidence or personality. Right to speak is about expressing, sharing, and contributing.

If I was not given this right, I would be like a statue, which is helpless and cannot speak but just see injustice and something disagreeable.

Therefore, the Right to Speak is a basic right for all human beings. Speaking or expressing is a nature’s gift to Humans, which should never be taken away.

A person who is suppressed by the world loses enthusiasm. This is why Right to Speak is our fundamental right. Right to Speak against something wrong is a necessity to stop the world from becoming a in human place.

“Right to Speak” makes the society a better place to live so that everybody follows a social conduct and is able to raise a voice against something wrong without having any fear.

I would like to quote example of Young girl named Malala whose words had enough power to invoke and influence the world. She raised her voice in favour of Girl Child Education and fearlessly she fought dictators who intended to take her “Right to Speak” away.

Even the strongest forces in the World fall weak in front the power of Words.

Divyajot Kaur
Sri Venkateshwar International
Delhi, India

Freedom of Speech and Expression

Freedom of speech and expression is a hotly debated topic in the world especially if we are considering a country like India. One of the most treacherous and menacing viruses in the world or falling from a 50 storey skyscraper is also not that life threatening than expressing your views in a country like India without any boundation on them. So today, I, Saksham Rai of Class 9, am going to contradict the statement freedom of speech and expression should be levied. To be specific, if we go with the same exact word, it is very prepossessing to live in a country with the freedom of sharing whatever is in your mind with the entire world without anyone there to put any kind of restrictions on you.

But just think, living in a society with 1.2 billion people around you, with something going in their mind that you are utterly unaware of and suddenly, out of the blue, they to start to make the best of the opportunity that they have got and start expressing ideas and views which according to them are reasonable but the rest of the society around them [including you] does not find it appropriate. And maybe it can be something that is extremely disturbing for the rest of us but that very person can do whatever he wants and no one can question him or because after all he is just enjoying his/her rights, no offence right? We could have people spouting homophobic, racist and nationalist {or anti-nationalist to be more accurate} or downright offensive views. This could be either to take out any potent grudges that a man has inside him over the years or to gain popularity {much like Kanhaiya did}.

Indeed, liberty of words helps everyone to govern him/her according to his/her convenience which is approvable by all. But believe me, in the modern world of self obsession, hypocrisy and greed, one tends to find everything that suits him/her with taking in consideration what others want. I personally get a lot of pleasure talking with my friends in somewhat thrilling kind of a language which I am sure our teachers and parents would not approve of. But later, I also regret it. And due to continuous usage, they become a habit. My friends, we would all love to live in a world without any kind of worries and problems but unfortunately we do not have a golden fate like that because Pandora opened the magical box to reveal all the problems and tension to the world. So why make a mess out of an already stinking dump yard and why not be a slight hope of prosperity with right to speech and expression but with some reasonable limitations. Why we should be the reason to cause another mass destruction of human race like World War 3 because then everyone would have the right to say anything to anyone and maybe the second person might not be as generous as you and I are. He could retaliate in a more devastating way, maybe an all out war. So please friends be a slight hope of light in a too often dim world.

Saksham Rai
Sri Venkateshwar International School
New Delhi, India

Nowadays, globalization and multiculturalism has changed the viewpoint of the people by adopting themselves as smarter, quicker and effective communicator. In older days, people used to accept any rules whatever they have been told to them without (taking) anyone’s opinion whether in running government, family or society. They used to respect and behaved as told to them.

Freedom of thought, views and speech is the most fundamental duty of every person of different nations because without sharing remarks or thinking nobody knows about solution of any cause. Liberty of words shows the power especially in politics or government. Most importantly, everyone has right to think and act for betterment of society without causing harm or prestige of some individual.

To conclude, people should be free from such hurdles by sharing their speech virtually. I think freedom of speech is the most valuable aspect of society to build up in a fruitful way. Imposing restrictions in speaking may damage and survive longer without getting productive result. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by Constitution of India but it does not allow to speak whatever trash or rubbish which causes harm to others or to disrespect to you. Your speech should point out such defects and wrong done by others moreover it should not touch personal life.

Mehul Kalra
Sri Venkateshwar International School
New Delhi, India

Human rights are as old as human civilization; but their use and relevance has been well defined during the recent years.

The world is evolving both technologically and economically continuously and all of us are cognizant about our Basic Human Rights and also are possessive about it. Human rights are moral principles or norms, which describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and law. These rights have been granted to us for promulgating equality and harmony all around so that one can endow with all the elations of life without a question mark put upon.

In other words, human rights are those rights which are essential for a dignified and a decent human living as well as human existence and adequate development of human personality.

It is not only about enjoying the joys of life but also helping in the upbringing of a person’s character by permitting him to voice out his thoughts and put it before the society to have a stature of his own. As we know that the roots of Human Rights had been infiltrated into the ground a long time ago and at times we do try to take the upper hand and flout and disrespect the norms without even apprehending about it.

The problem of human rights is that people and countries have a different understanding of the term and its protection. In some countries political and civil rights are not given or guaranteed to all its citizens. In some other countries, economic and social rights are not enforced, therefore, the basic idea behind stressing human rights is that all governments should try to maintain these fundamental rights and see that all types of discrimination in this respect are rooted out.

We have never pondered about it what would happen if our freedom of speech gashes ones sentiments and give us a downfall.

What would happen if misuse of our rights leads us to the wrong path?
What would be our future if we blurt out everything causing harm to our society in general?

There is a very thin line between our rights and freedom to abuse them; utmost care should be exercised so that we do not abuse this freedom of expression.

So, it’s time to get out of our comfort zone and think and realize that rights are not all about one’s safety. It’s more than this; it is more than talking and educating. It’s about how we pour out our thoughts and up brings ourselves in front of the society.

Vatsala Hira
Sri Venkateshwar International School
New Delhi

You can also read the views of the students here :