Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

Let Freedom of Speech Flourish

There is no doubt in the fact that freedom of speech has suffered in Afghanistan because of many reasons; among which parochial and short-sighted thinking of different authorities have been responsible. However, since the installation of a setup based on democracy after the downfall of Taliban, there has been some encouragement to media, intellectuals, analysts, politicians and individuals to express themselves freely. However, a great deal of work still needs to be done to make freedom of speech flourish in the country in true sense.
In the last few years or so, the deteriorating security situation has influenced Afghan media to a large extent. In some cases, they have been directly attacked by Taliban and Daesh insurgents. However, the efforts and opportunities by the government and international organizations are on line to pave the way for freedom of speech. Highlighting one of the same efforts, Vice-President Sarwar Danish on Monday said that the government was committed to supporting the freedom of speech. He also called the media an important value for a democratic society. Danish’s views have been expressed after UNESCO announced that Afghanistan has moved from red category to green in supporting the freedom of expression. Danish said in his statement, “I am very happy Afghanistan has been placed in a better slot in freedom of expression at the UNESCO meeting. We thank the international organization for this decision. I can say for sure Afghanistan’s new place shows the government’s commitment not only to the freedom of speech, but to protecting this important and credible value of democratic society from assault.” It is really imperative that Afghanistan must continue efforts for freedom of speech, which will ultimately promote democratic culture within Afghan society and would ensure smoother transition towards a better democratic system; and also because it is the right of every individual to have freedom of speech.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” 
The greatest virtue of human is wisdom and the greatest act of wisdom is to share knowledge through expression. Expression or speech, in its passive form, is a thought, while in its active form it is a voice. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to recognize the being of a human without his voice in the infinite expense of the universe. Our reach is to the extent where our voice can echo and without our voice we would disappear in the darkness of silence. So, it is important that we talk as long as we live. The ones who do not have the opportunity to talk they feel that the unspoken words spread throughout their bodies like poison and snatch their happiness.
Therefore, everyone must be given a chance to speak their minds and let the words flow through their tongues and reach others, so that they can listen to them and analyze them; in this way the speaker would not feel that his words were not given the due respect.  A very limited reservoir of knowledge has reached to us and if a major part of it remains untold and is victimized by silence, we would have a major loss – a loss that would be very difficult to compensate for. Here it is important to note that there are certain people, who, when talk, try to create conflicts and differences; however, it should not be forgotten that if such people remain silent, they would create even more divergences.
It is really important that human beings must keep the doors and windows of their inner selves open and let their expressions free like the winds in the deserts and the water flowing in the rivers. Indeed, the ones who speak are the real teachers and while those who are silent basically hide what they have. Therefore, it is necessary that the tradition and culture of speaking must be followed and pursued so as to spread what people know and let the listener judge as per his perceptions.

In our society, for many years there have been certain limitations which are imposed on the people and which hamper free thinking and free expression; however the people have not dared to stand against such limitations though these limitations influence them the most. Moreover, it can be observed that among some of the ruling elite, there is a sort of reservation regarding freedom of expression and they try to practice it in some way or the other. They try to impose limitations on freedom of expression through certain ways – they strive to generate social pressure and they even design laws to acquire their objective. This clearly shows that they are afraid of the realities and they are not confident enough to face them. However, the people have to understand that only a limited number of people have their self-centered incentives behind such controlled silence; therefore, such efforts should never be supported and people must make efforts to shatter all such chains that strive to limit their thoughts and their speech.