Freedom of speech and criticism 

Monday, 26 October 2020



Freedom of speech and criticism 

Sidharth Bedi Varma | August 11, 2018 19:36 hrs

I think people have taken “freedom of speech” for granted. No one seems to have any control over what they are talking about, what information they are sharing, both personal and official. The lines between personal communication and official information have become so blurred because of the way people use social media.
Which is why, the Assam government is likely to bring its employees under a social media usage policy so that apart from their lips being sealed, their thumbs are as far away possible from Facebook and Twitter posts. This brings me to the observation that yes, people who fill “Works at Assam Government” in their bio on Facebook, more often than not, communicate inappropriately on their social media handles.


While of course, we can argue that social media is a personal domain, gone are the days that you could say that be done with it. Consider communication at free will on social media a luxury. For instance, when you have a complaint, you rant about it on Facebook and expect the brand to respond to you. You write #Boycott<insert brand here> and expect everyone to take it seriously. Then why ignore the little things? If the Assam Police is expected to monitor the internet for a potential ‘cry for help’ or crime, please note, that your small and trivial updates will also fall under its purview; because if they choose to ignore it, we are going to scream bloody murder!


From the initial understanding, this ‘Social Media Usage Policy’ is actually a crash course on social media etiquettes, and the government hopes that everyone is a fast learner.


While freedom of speech is important, maybe social media is not the best place to be liberating ourselves, all the time! Clearly, people are losing the entire point and are making and breaking brands here. It’s time we catch up too and understand that this “empowered via social media” rule needs to be relooked at.

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