The freedom of speech on the internet and its legalities

The freedom of speech on the internet and its legalities


The internet has created a global village where individuals have been able to spread information and exchange their ideas.  The structures of the internet have ensured that the information has reached the intended person. In this case, the various development of information technology has led to increased challenges that have led to the restriction of freedom of speech (Godwin,2003). The internet has identified any form of censorship as damage to information. The spread of information needs to be free and that the internet technology should extend the freedom of speech at a global level. This study has examined practicing the freedom of speech and expression on the internet.

The internet had been praised before as a communication medium and as an embodiment of freedom of expression. However, it has brought tensions that have been related to hate speech, indecent speech, pornography and defamation among others (Balkin,2008). The internet has been used purveyors of hate materials and has been utilized as a new means of distribution and has, therefore, brought some questions on whether the laws have been considered superseded. The right to freedom of expression and opinion is considered as an absolute prerequisite for every democratic society in the world.  There is no circumstance under which a person can be imprisoned for expressing her views. That states it is morally relevant to protect the freedom of expression (Godwin,2003). The advent of technology through the internet has advanced how people interact with each other. The internet has played an important part in the renewal of economic development and the interests of labor.

The freedom of expression and speech is considered essential in each country that upholds the core values and principles of democracy. It is also important for the promotion of dignity in the society.  This has been considered as one of the most dangerous freedom that the state has granted to the citizens. This is because it gives the citizens the right to express their dissatisfaction and can also demand change. The internet has brought the universal freedom of expression through its ability to spread information through the revolutionary technology. The internet does not only provide free speech access but is also a concern with the promotion of free speech. This is because human beings believe I the inherent value of truth that is delivered to them.  Therefore, the ability to promote the internet to contribute to freedom of speech is an important issue.

The united states have highly recognized the relevance of freedom of speech and expression to sustain growth and safeguard democracy (Sullivan et al ., 2003). The government has tried in many instances to regulate some speech to limit the freedom of expression. In the constitution, the first amendment states that the Congress shall not make any law that has respect for any religion establishment or prohibits free exercise and reducing the freedom of speech for the citizens. This, therefore, means that the freedom of speech should not be violated. The first amendment on the internet should apply on the internet.  It only protects controversial and offensive speech but does not protect obscene and libelous material.

The communication Decency Act I996 only defines people that use the internet to someone under 18 years to share offensive information and can be jailed for breaking the law. (Ku,2000). Many countries have recognized the freedom of speech to sustain social development and democracy. This freedom has promoted advocacy and criticism of the activities that they find disappointing. However, the freedom of speech has been limited in some cases such as the promotion of sexual immorality and hate speeches. This has been the obligation of the government to protect their citizens from activities such as false advertisements to safeguard the property rights of the individuals.

The supreme court has had many interpretations of the first amendment regarding the freedom of speech. The internet has been a great controversy due to the right of expression in the constitution. Certain individuals have felt that the internet should be regulated by the government and censored to protect the youths. On the other hand, it has been considered that regulation of any material on the internet will violate the First amendment (Ku,2000). This, therefore, has revealed that censorship has primarily led to an unintentional effect of certain expression and speech on the internet.

Through the access of world wide web people can express their selves freely across borders without any limits (Godwin,2003). The internet is an open medium that is classified by a variety of communication forms. There is a great power on the internet but has been censored by the government like any other form of media. However, the government has ensured that it does not prejudice the strong positive potential of the internet through putting restrictions on the internet. This has enhanced a positive impact o the freedom of expression on the internet. The internet has been considered as an important tool in the promotion of freedom of expression. This is because the information can flow without restriction hence has promoted the level of democracy in different nations in the world. The internet has become popular hence making it more difficult for the government to restrict and limit the freedom of expression (Godwin,2003). The flow of information around the world has led to political, legal and moral controversies but in the same way, has highly promoted the freedom of speech to the citizens.

One of the major concerns that have grown on the internet is the use of freedom to post any information on the web. This has been unlimited where one can post based, dangerous and incorrect information.  This has led to a serious concern when it comes to allowing children to use the internet (Morozov,2012). Concerns of the internet have brought censorship that has led to various things such as pornography and hate speech. The internet censorship has therefore led to the limitation of what people consume on the internet. In this case, the government has been the most important enforcer of censorship. This is because the state can block the websites, web pages, and the internet information resources. This has been an important way through which the freedom of expression has not been violated a through internet filtering which has enabled restriction of certain internet information.


The internet has had a great power in the promotion of freedom of speech. The legislation has increased the support for freedom of speech on the internet. Implementation of laws over the freedom of speech has only limited the publication of certain materials via the internet. The freedom of speech has had its own negative and positive implications. However, censorship has been utilized to regulate emerging problems on the internet that have threatened unconditional flow. The internet has been utilized in the promotion of universal freedom of speech. The internet has had a positive effect on the freedom of speech because it has been utilized in the promotion of democracy and social development. Most of the countries have had few regulations on the freedom of speech with intent to promote democracy and social growth. Censorship has only been utilized to govern the information shared over the internet. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and is essential in bringing public participation when it comes to decision making. Therefore, the freedom of speech on the internet is not only important for individual dignity but is also important in the promotion of accountability, democracy, and participation.




Balkin, J. M. (2008). The future of free expression in a digital age. Pepp. L. Rev., 36, 427.

Godwin, M. (2003). Cyber rights: Defending free speech in the digital age. MIT press.

Ku, R. S. R. (2000). Open Internet Access and Freedom of Speech: A First Amendment Catch-22. Tul. L. Rev., 75, 87.

Morozov, E. (2012). The net delusion: The dark side of Internet freedom. PublicAffairs.

Sullivan, K. M., & Gunther, G. (2003). First Amendment Law. Foundation Press.



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