The Role of diversity on freedom of speech in democratic societies

Lasa Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is no doubt that freedom of speech plays an important role in the process of democratization. Freedom of speech is a guarantee to citizens to participate effectively in the working of democracy. Likewise, a democracy is not viable and stable if individuals, including the leading rivals of the administration in power, lack the rights to free speech. When studying the relationship between democracy and freedom of speech, two questions that need to be asked, however, are whether it is democracy that justifies freedom of speech or it is freedom of speech that serves democracy? However, the ‘servant’ theory of freedom of speech has been subjected to considerable criticism. The only decisive fact is that freedom of speech and democracy promoted and combined with each other during the process of democratic development. Further, the subtle relationship between freedom of speech and democracy is flexible. With the different models of democratic process that are adopted in different countries, the particular freedom of speech rights intrinsic to democracy will vary. This paper will look into India, Singapore and Australia to see the results after comparison. As a result, it will show that, the nature of acceptable democratic processes is as: majority election of rulers, the equal distribution of political power, the pursuit of consensus, the recognition of diversity, and a process of deliberation. In a democracy, free speech will not only enable the decision makers to fully appreciate the strength of the diversity of opinions but also will be conducive to the tolerance and acceptance of diverse views.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of sustainable human development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Diversity
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Democracy
  • India
  • Singapore
  • Australia


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