Vol. 5 Num 180 Fri. November 26, 2004  
Letters to Editor

Freedom of speech

‘Freedom of speech' is ascribed as one of the fundamental human rights. To reveal the truth, freedom of speech is a must. But at times the society becomes a barrier to freedom of expression. Each and every society imposes some sort of censorship on free expression for the 'greater interest of the society'. Such censorship existed even during the ancient period. Socrates for example, was the victim of censorship and he had to die for telling the truth to the young people . Censorship was imposed on Galileo for expressing a scientific truth. In India Khana's speech was permanently stopped by severing her tongue as she being a lady tried to express truths like a man. In Bangladesh, the censorship was imposed on writings of Araz Ali Matubbar and Taslima Nasrin and many others as some sections of the society feel that their writings went against Islamic belief. Analysing most of the censorship imposed in different countries on different persons will reveal that the main reasons behind censorship are political and religious.

In the arena of literature freedom of speech is a prime concern. This is true that the real progression of society and censorship do no go hand in hand. But the question is should there be a threshold point for freedom of speech? Should one express whatever she or he likes in the name of freedom of speech? These questions arise after reading Taslima's book "Ka". It is one of the autobiographies of Taslima. Reading this book one may summarise that Taslima's private life is the main focus of this book.

Perhaps, in this book, by exposing her private interactions with some celebrities of the country she has tried to reveal the 'hypocrisies' of these men. But the question is whether Taslima's claims in this book are true or fabricated? She has admitted in her book that nothing happened without her consent. Then why has she bothered to expose these in public? It may be mentioned that sexuality of a person is a completely private affair and exposing it in public is quite indecent.

Those who advocate freedom of speech must understand that the freedom does not give free licence to express whatever we like. Rather we should have a self-imposed censorship so that our writings do not go against social norms and ethics.