Hemant Mehta: Recommended Reading

by | April 6, 2015

Hemant Mehta is correct, “Despite the Risks, Free Speech Is Worth Fighting For,” and many bloggers and devotees of social media will agree with Mehta when he says,

While I’ve sometimes held back on social media out of fear of saying the wrong thing, I’ve never had to worry about my physical safety. What these writers [Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy] faced in criticizing religion was incomprehensible to us in many ways, and yet they took those risks because they knew what was at stake. For that reason, they deserve respect and a permanent place in our memories.

Mehta recommends George Packer’s New Yorker article “Mute Button,” which “offers a reflection on the price of free speech and why we must keep fighting for that right”:

an even greater danger than violence or jail is the internal mute button known as self-censorship. Once it’s activated, governments and armed groups don’t have to bother with threats. Here self-censorship is on the rise out of people’s fear of being pilloried on social media.

“Here” for Packer is the US, but his observations are true for Canada as well. If “being pilloried on social media,” is our greatest fear, then we should go for it!

2 thoughts on “Hemant Mehta: Recommended Reading

  1. Joe

    I once read an article about ‘bullying in highschool’. It talking about how when boys bully they tend to use violence and threats of violence, whereas girls will use ostracism and threats of exclusion. Setting aside the sex/gender issue, social media has become a hotbed of both sorts of bullying, and it seems to come from every political direction.

    If someone is self-censoring because they have tendencies they feel are bad, that is one thing, but if they are self-censoring because they fear being pummeled by an angry internet mob, that is bad for everyone. We need criticism, but there is difference between that healthy criticism and trying to hurt, physically, economically or socially, those we disagree with.

    We need to stand up for our right to be wrong.


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