Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Speech’

A Worrying Sign

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Here is my opinion on the “controversial” FNB advert
Before even voting, the electoral process and all the related paraphernalia of a healthy democracy, the foundation of the democratic system is actually the individual’s freedom of speech. The ability for people (and businesses) to say what they think offers the ability for a nation to have a national dialogue, discussing important topics, bouncing ideas around and sharing information. This is the basis of forming a “national opinion”, which the basis of collective decision making, i.e. the electoral process that most people think of when they think of democracy.
The freedom of speech also includes the ability to openly and honestly criticize Government without the fear of retribution. Those people elected into a public position must accept that they are there for the people’s benefit, not the people for theirs. Hence, public commentary (including criticism!) of those in public office is a reality.
If they did not want commentary on themselves, they should not be in public office. Those in public office cannot have their cake and eat it. It’s that simple.
Now I think the FNB advert is actually quite a positive, hopeful advert and had little (i.e. nothing) to do with the ANC, the Government and the “aggrieved parties”. But, ignoring what I thought, the ANC’s (and hence the Government’s) aggressive response is quite telling. Furthermore, the fact that FNB felt the need to pull the advert off air is even more telling, given the context I have set above…
With no true freedom of speech, we risk not being a democracy.
That simple.