Freedom of speech?
Does too much freedom of speech actually inhibit true freedom of speech? Now this is a pretty big question so for the sake of a manageable blog let’s just refer to advertising. The recent furore around “beach body ready” raised some interesting questions, in particular because in the end the ASA did not uphold a complaint made by other 300 people. It was investigated on the basis of widespread offence and being socially irresponsible. However, this was immaterial as the twitter outcry had already led to widespread vandalism of the posters and the brand pulling them. Now no one would question the right of those who didn’t like the ads to complain about them vocally.
The worry is whether the voices of those who didn’t like the ads should be strong enough to warrant their removal? For every person who complained there were probably 20 people who didn’t care, liked the ads or even agreed with them. They are naturally going to be less vocal though, why would they stick up for an ad? But perhaps they should have, any form of censorship is risky particularly in this modern world where everyone has a voice through social media. I’m reminded of my family dinner table as a child when arguments would erupt amongst the four children. Should the argument be won by the child that shouts loudest, even if all the others disagree? I was taught that shouting to make your point was never the answer but it seems these days that perhaps it is.