The Delicate Balance of Regulating Freedom of Speech

806 Words Feb 2nd, 2018 3 Pages
Should we as citizens then live as a democratic society where freedom of speech and press is completely unregulated? For those readers who say yes, would you then be willing to legalize types of speech like slander or defamation of character and reputation? This is precisely the tricky and delicate balance that democratic societies like the United States often have to weigh in which different social values, for example a right to privacy or a right to not have your reputation falsely tainted, are on one end of the scale and constitutional values such as an unabridged freedom of speech or press are on the other. It is first important to point out that “defamation” is just a catch-all term for any statement that hurts someone's reputation. Written defamation is called "libel," and spoken defamation is called "slander." Defamation is not a crime, but it is a "tort" or a civil wrong, rather than a criminal wrong. The law of defamation varies from state to state, but there are some generally accepted rules. If you believe you are have been "defamed," to prove it you typically have to show there's been a false statement published to an audience about you, and it somehow injured your reputation. Public officials and figures have less protection under defamation laws, though, which means that in order for them to prove a defamation claim, they must also show that the speaker acted with…

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