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Freedom of expression and belief. Drawing the line

Being expressive and being religious are our rights as citzins of a democratic society, but in displaying them, ethics and morals should be our focus.

Freedom of expression and freedom of belief are two fundamental human rights that Nigerians have. This is because Nigeria is a democratic state. However, it is pertinent that the line between freedom of expression and belief is drawn accurately to avoid unethical and chaotic ends.

In other words, when you feel the need to express yourself, you must consider the consequences behind the choices you make while expressing yourself. Also, just as you are free in your belief, you should be careful not to force your belief on anyone or underplay another person.

Toyin Lawani raised brows on Twitter over her use of religious symbols in a contrasting body revealing expression. When I saw the picture at first, I thought she was under the influence of a Truth or Dare game. This is something that raises a red flag anytime – religion is a topic in Nigeria.

Freedom of expression and belief

I know that complaining would be seen as religiosity, but what height do you need to go to so that it doesn’t seem religious? Also, at what point does freedom of expression cross the line? We have seen cases where people kill for religion, and we have also seen cases where expressions lead to slander. Shouldn’t the focal point here be ethics? There are two ethical points to note, and they are;

Respect others

When you respect others, you would not want to reduce them to slanderous statements. You would be cautious of what you say or do to them. Also, you would understand that everybody has rights, and you have to respect them.

Respect yourself

The moment you are able to respect others, they tend to respect you. You would also not get involved in situations that would bring bad publicity to you.

Finally, being expressive or religious is not a crime. It is the manner of expression that shows how ethical we are.

See also: Food sharing time in Nigerian parties is the climax

Ifunanya Mbakogu

Ifunanya Mbakogu is a professional editor and proofreader with a bachelor's degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. Drawing from a solid level of interpersonal and analytic skills, she is able to present societal issues and matters arising in engaging ways. She is an Editor at Talku Talku.

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