#IndexDrawtheLine: Without the freedom to offend, free speech ceases to exist

This article is part of Draw the Line. Each month, our youth advisory board will choose a free expression topic and encourage readers to respond to the issues it raises. Youth board member Mahima Singh wraps up this month's discussion about offence and free speech.

16 Feb 2015


Growth can only happen when old obsolete ideas are replaced with newer, relevant ones.  If we don’t challenge the established system of thought, we can’t move forward. If ideas that don’t work anymore aren’t rejected, new ones won’t find space. Without new and better ideas there is no movement in any field. Freedom of speech and expression is fundamental to that forward movement and as Salman Rushdie said, “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist”

We opened up the debate with Charlie Hebdo on our minds. The Hebdo massacre changed the world. Now there is an actual discourse on free expression across the globe. The world is coming together and expressing themselves collectively. Our twitter feed is proof of that. While a lot of people believe that the right to offend comes with the right to free expression, there are people who say that anything that leads to violence is wrong, and there is a fine line there which needs to be observed.

This is where we draw the line: somewhere in the ever-changing grey area between absolutism and stagnancy.

Below, are some young people from across India, who used photographs to join the #IndexDrawtheLine discussion. If you’d like to join the debate, tweet your photos or answers to #IndexDrawtheLine.

Feb DTL photo 1

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Feb DTL photo 3

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Feb DTL photo 6

This article was posted on 16 February 2015 at

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