Do We Have Freedom of Speech? An Answer...
Do we really have freedom of speech? As pointed out by several others in the answers to the person who posted this originally as a question, we are guaranteed freedom of speech in our Constitution. And as equally correctly pointed out, that freedom does not include the right to slander others, or put anyone in danger by false proclamations--the yelling of "fire" where none exists in a crowded theater being the most often-cited example.
That said, look around you. There is censorship everywhere! I received a dressisng-down in the forums here because people assumed I was "missing the point," in complaining about censorship here on HP and in other media. It was pointed out that our 'freedoms' only apply in the USA, and that the web is worldwide. Yes, I know that. (and yes, for the purposes of this post, I mean here in the USA!! Before anyone else 'jumps' me for assuming that I refer to the rest of the world; they should be taught what "assume" spells...)
However, if the company or corporation hosting a given site is located in the USA, then it is subject to our constitution. The same person who apparently thought I did not know that our constitution does not apply to the rest of the world also stated that it does not apply to private organizations, only to the government. Also true.
However, the government is in the business of censorship , and most people don't even realize it! Every time you watch a TV program, and hear cuss-words 'bleeped' out, or see fuzzed-out images of--horrors: female breasts--you are witnessing Government censorship! This has nothing whatsoever to do with the private entities which are the TV networks . This is the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in action; an arm of the government that regulates public media!
Yes, folks, our government itself, (via the FCC) does violate our constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech. Whether "private" entities such as HP are subject to FCC rules when it comes to the Internet, (which is, after all, a communications medium --just like newspapers or TV), is a matter for research.
Before anyone points out that the Freedom of Speech applies only to the prohibition of Congress making laws to violate that 1st and most important amendment, let me point out something: what government body do you suppose was responsible for creation of the FCC? Bingo! Ergo, any laws about what may or may not be broadcast, as invented and implemented by the FCC, are indirectly enacted by Congress, by virtue of its creation of said agency. It's kind of like the mob laundering money....an "if you can't tie it directly to us, we're not responsible" attitude and culpability dodge.
Any censorship that happens should be within each of us to think before we speak , and make use of parental supervision and the "off" switch or channel-changer with regards to what our children watch or hear. TV is not intended as a babysitter, and networks should not be expected (nor should the FCC require) the censorship that is the duty of the parents in raising their children to their own standards. Besides, let's be honest, here: most school-age kids have heard all the words their parents would like to think they have not. Our children are not so 'innocent' as we'd like to pretend. In fact, many, if not most kids could actually educate their parents on new vulgarities picked up at school, and yes, also at private schools!
No, what we have in this country are perceived freedoms. Just don't try to push them too far. The real freedoms apply only to the power players..that infamous 'old boy network.'
(I have a further bit about exactly why this is silly on my blog.)