Sunday, May 24, 2015

First Amendment Wins Second Time Around

Three years ago, in 2012, a video was posted on YouTube. Unlike the other hundreds of videos posted on YouTube daily, this one brought up extreme amounts of controversy. It was entitled, "Innocence of Muslims" and negatively portrayed the Islamic faith by portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a "bloodthirsty thug".

After this video was posted, a huge uproar was created around the world. Hundreds of people started protesting. The protests began in Cairo and eventually spread to Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia as well as many other countries. The protests caused many people to be injured and even over fifty people to die and the YouTube video was forced to be taken down.

YouTube did not see the point of removing this video, for they saw the video as a video against Islam and not Islam people. Therefore, this video is not a hate-crime. The First Amendment states that, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." According to YouTube, the people who posted the video had the right to say everything they said because of their freedom of speech.

However, on May 18, a federal appeals court revisited the case and ruled that YouTube should not have had to remove the video off the site, for it was a breach to the freedom of speech by taking it down. While I understand everyone is entitled to have their own opinions, I believe the court got the case right the first time. In class, we learned about how there are certain instances that the First Amendment does not cover, such as yelling "Fire!" when there is not one. These instances are often illegal because they could cause danger to people's lives. This video did exactly that with the protests, for over fifty people died as a result of this video. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should be able to express their opinion, but when it turns to danger, it may be time to put limitations on it and take down the video.

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