Editor AWR: excellent article! See also his article in the previous week.
Freedom of expression is a relative concept. However, its essence lies in preventing the person from practicing his right to think, create and experiment freely and convey the results to others. Freedom of expression is a multi-dimensional concept. These different dimensions are affected by one another. This entails that absence of freedom of expression goes back to a number of intertwined reasons. However the author tries to analyze six reasons for absence of freedom of expression each on its own.
1- Political reasons: They are related to absence of rotation of power which is accompanied with tyranny and domination that eliminates diversity. As a result, practices of suppression such as detention and torture increases.
2- Social reason: They start from the family being the nucleus of society.
These reasons are most evident in patriarchal societies that are hierarchically structured. Diversity is not allowed in such societies with total obedience to the patriarch who comes on top of the hierarchy representing its governing principle. Lots of taboos are found in patriarchal societies and the violation of these taboos is punished by being deprived of the sponsorship of the family or the tribe and becoming an outcast.
3- Religious reasons: they are related to the absence of freedom of faith and freedom of conversion and the consequent punishment of practicing them which may reach killing.
4- Sectarian reasons: they are embodied in denominational and ethnic fanaticism.
5- Educational reasons: this category is related to spread of illiteracy and the fact that freedom of expression and human rights are not introduced in school curricula.
6- Media-related reasons: the media is does not carry out its role to increase awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and warning against the consequences of its absence. In contrast, in order to satisfy political, religious or social authorities the media propagates against freedom of expression.
[To read the first article in this series see AWR 2008 week 45 art 2]