Skip to main content
What is Freedom of Speech?

Post by: Jillian Schinzing

Hello! My name is Jillian Schinzing, and I am a third-year student staff member with the Center for Global Justice. This semester I get to work on a project for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The project my team is working on will analyze how hate speech is defined across various jurisdictions. I am assigned to research constitutions, penal codes, and Supreme Court cases in India and Nepal. The purpose of this research is to provide ADF with resources to advocate for those whose voices are being silenced.

Many countries, including India and Nepal, have strict laws limiting the types of speech that they deem appropriate. Much of this silenced speech includes that of the religious communities. For example, in India, there is no such thing as “hate speech.” However, many individuals have been charged and convicted under the Indian Penal Code “Offences Relating to Religion.” This code criminalizes the “deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizen of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise…” In 1957, the Indian Supreme Court upheld this law and defined it as a “reasonable restriction” to speech. In turn, this law has continued to lead to the conviction of many religious minorities because their beliefs offend the religious majority.

I do not believe it is possible to have a free society without the freedom to speak and share one’s beliefs. Without the ability to talk, share, and communicate freely people may never grow, learn, or change. Living in the United States, we have been blessed with a First Amendment right that guarantees this freedom. But there are many who are not so blessed. As advocates for justice, we must remember what a gift we have, we must work to preserve that gift for ourselves, and try to help others obtain it. 

I am thankful to continue working with the Center and partnering with great organizations that advocate for Godly principles.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Student Staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.