Free speech comes with responsibilities

Letter published in The Independent, 20 January, 2015.

I was in Berlin a year after the wall came down and asked an East German journalist how it felt to young people to now be free. He replied: "It's great – the problem is we don't know how to use that freedom."

My community of Marlborough has had a 32-year relationship with the Muslim community of Gunjur in The Gambia. In conversation with friends there since the events in Paris, they have said they are all appalled at the murders that took place, supposedly in the name of Islam.

At the same time, they are confused by the demands for the protection of freedom of speech when that speech is gratuitously offensive, not even humorous and is fundamentally about making money through the sale of a magazine.

Hands up, those who do not think that with freedom comes responsibility.

Dr Nick Maurice
Marlborough, Wiltshire