LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

Social Media versus the Right to free Speech:A Debate

A seasoned analysis on the right to freedom of speech via social media.

The following questions are germane to understanding in clear perspective the legal significations, implications and ramifications of the conduct of a public office in blocking persons from their social media page.

videlicet: Whether the right to freedom of private and public life is available to public servants;

whether the right aforesaid is available to  public servants in the operation and running of their private or official social networks;

whether the right aforesaid enables public servants to determine who follows them or who becomes their friends on the social network;

whether freedom of speech is tantamount to compulsory receipt of the information sought to convey;

if the above question is answered in the affirmative,….

whether there is an exception or circumstances recognized by law in which one can avoid the receipt of such information.

and if in the  negative,…..

whether there are circumstances recognized by law in which one may be mandated to receive such information.

An attempt to grapple with the above enumerated issues would go along way elucidating crepuscular intricacies of the instant case.

in my considered view, a public officer has not done any legally reprehensible act within the circumstances of the case to justify his liability for merely blocking or unfriending any one on social media.

-Lawrence Ukomadu

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Democracy is all about free speech and expression which is a symbol of civility:The ability to convey your thoughts and opinion and not suffer any detriment for doing just that.
A privilege guaranteed by the Constitution, A right endowed by nature that men should at all time repress dictatorship by their words whether written or spoken and not take up arms. free speech must be allowed for democracy to thrive. as silence breeds tyranny.

Yes! everyone is entitled to privacy but on private matter only and this extends to public office holders too. However, when the issues discussed are public in nature and will affect the overall interest of the Public then this right to privacy is limited as any invasion for the purpose of public good will not amount to any infringement of the said right, since the public interest surpasses private interest.

so, whether a public office holder has right to privacy is negatived by the fact that he occupies a public office especially where he acts in a representative capacity like an elected official.he must submit himself to public evaluation and criticism and blocking them on social media platform for doing just that is completely contrary to the right to free speech by the public.

whether there will be an exception to this rule is a lot more an issue needing serious considerations..

Where the matter to which such criticism are made on social media  are public in nature. it is not in error for people to comment on them and it’s completely out of place to block them when they air views that appears contrary and accepting contrary view no matter how insulting is the hallmark of leadership.

-Njokudavidchibueze

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In my view a public office holder has the right to determine those that would see his posts or even comment on them on social media.

We must not forget that our rights end where another person’s right (or other people’s right) begins..

I think the  right to freedom of speech which encompasses the activities of the press does not extend to information disseminated on any social network although it is now widely in use.

I doubt whether it is within the contemplation of the law that all and sundry will have free access to whatever any person posts therein (be it a public figure or not)since Social media is different from the conventional platforms for dissemination of information (such as radio,  newspaper,  magazine,  T.V etc).

And that information are shared on social media pages cannot automatically convert the personal account of a public office holder to public platform where any person may be allowed to say anything.

-chigbo Chinemelum (Galaxy)

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Can there really be free speech in the real sense on social media?
am I under compulsion to maintain a social media account?
I can wake up and decide to delete my social media accounts and who cares;I own it and it’s my choice to do what ever I will with it.

This extends to public office holders too and that they choose to operate a media platform does not then make them answerable for whatever they choose to do with it.

And Is social network, precisely; twitter a good platform for the evaluation of government policies?  there are so many other means to render public opinion. does Twitter now serves as a board room where policies on governance are made?

Science can go to any extent but not in governance, if the twitter platform is used more often to make official comments what of people that are not on Twitter.
Is it still democracy Which is government by the majority?.

-Chinemerem

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If a public office holder thinks that he is discharging his duties without any collusive activity that Will adversely affect the state then he shouldn’t be under any discomfort or fear or even feel demeaned by the words of the Public whether it is made on a social media platform or elsewhere.

Restricting the public suggests that he doesn’t understand the inalienable rights of the citizens.

The law has it that the state and its machinery is prevented from interfering with the rights of the populace.

-Ifeanyi Macpherson (Jega)

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Such matters are caricature of Legal process. why will someone question another for merely excersing his freedom of choice to either allow you to be his friend or to unfriend you on social media?

I believe that public office holders  have the right to delete anyone they wish to  from their account.

There are other means or Avenue to voice  public opinion or criticize the governmet apart from social media.

That means those he didn’t accept their friend request too will go and sue him?
This issue will probably die at pre- trial stage.
let’s remember that these leaders themself are human and they may react when views becomes insulting or diminishes them.

The right thing should always be done and when you want to criticize, let it be a constructive criticism and not ad hominem.
in the same vein we shouldn’t be afraid to voice out our opinion don’t just Sit down and look! get involved but do it wisely.

And For our better tomorrow, let’s encourage the leaders that are doing well. don’t always be full of complains.

-Zion Odinaka

CONCLUSION~

In the final analysis, whether or not criticism occurred in a social media platform or through any other means, I believe that the right to free speech should be enthroned. since gaging free public speech by any means or coloration is suggestive of tyranny.

It is common knowledge that the social media has now become the foremost information Centre of our generation. so, it is not wrong for a public office holder if he chooses, to air his view therein. nor is it in error if any person replies him using the same medium.

It must be pointed out that, Contrary view is not when one insults another, And dont forgot that they can sue a citizen for defamation too.

yes we are to exercise our right but it shouldn’t be exercised in a manner to infringe on the right of another. that’s not how strong democracies are built.

However, true leadership  lies in looking beyond the vulgar nature of the words used in reproof  but  the core, the essence and truth imbedded in such statements.

 

inasmuch as free speech is guaranteed. it should not be an Avenue to cast unnecessary aspersions on public figures.
Indeed, it’s always easy to condemn than applaud. but that should be discouraged entirely.Uneasy truly lies the head that wears the crown.

CBND

For knowledge and Justice

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