The Magnet Tribune

Non-free speech and its consequences

Milton Hattem, Staff Writer

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Non-protected speech is not protected by the Constitution, and can often be identified as slander, threats, solicitation of crimes, and other forms of speech with the intent to commit a crime, defame, hurt, or threaten someone.

Things such as posting false information to harm someone’s reputation, or threatening someone online fall under unprotected speech and can be punishable by law.

They’re not protected due to the obvious reason that such forms of speech can cause harm to another individual; for example, if someone yelled fire in a theater that person can be arrested for disturbing the peace and causing mass panic.

That way they can’t get away with whatever chaos they decide to make, and just claim that he or she was expressing a constitutional right.

Although said individual was freely speaking, what he said can cause injuries, and mass panic, which is a danger to the public.

Another example would be if a news outlet were to publish a false story using false information about an individual. The outlet has defamed someone and that someone can defend him/herself by going to court and claiming libel or slander.

This one applies more to people with prominent backgrounds such as movie stars or government officials who need to keep up a certain positive image to continue with their lives and careers.

Therefore, it’s important that such speech not be protected, so that the average citizen can be protected. I guess words really can hurt.

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Non-free speech and its consequences