Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Should there be a limit to artistic and journalistic freedom

Should there be a limit to artistic and journalistic freedom?

By Tony C. Lesesne


Recently, two recent tragic headline-grabbing events involved threats or outright attacks on media and entertainment institutions. This morning I was asked if there should be limits to artistic expression and journalistic freedoms. My answer is ABSOLUTELY, there should be limits.   


As an executive working in media, entertainment and branding, I find myself at odds with my own answer, but as a father, community servant and mentor, my answer still stands. You see, ever since the 1915 film BIRTH OF A NATION was released; which ultimately launched the Ku Klux Klan, there have been debates about the merits of artistic and journalistic freedom has been waged. This film was one of the damaging tools ever used against Black people in America. It projected images of Blacks as lazy, slothful, beasts with no moral judgment or sense of discipline. The film turned legions of whites against the “Negro” and prompted the development of Jim Crow laws that was a new form of slavery. Blacks did not have the power, protection or guts to boycott the film.


Over the past few months, the troubling, and even horrifying examples of what can go wrong when politics, wayward governments and religious extremist deliver their responses to media and entertainment companies that produce images that offend them.

Freedom of speech is a precious element of our American society, but when those freedoms are exported by way of today’s instant news and the internet’s ability to deliver information in seconds to audiences around the globe, problems are bound to occur, and they may occur in deadly fashion such as was the case with the Sony film THE INTERVIEW and more deadly, the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.


The best way to combat freedom of speech or freedom of expression is to use violence, or the threat of violence. In the case of THE INTERVIEW, the threat of violence nearly shut down any opportunity for the Sony film top get distribution – yet it also galvanized audiences who want to do everything in their power to protect the freedom of artistic expression – so they watched on line and in select theaters. In the case of Charlie Hebdo- 12 people were killed for their satirical publication of the prophet Mohammed- a big no-no in the Muslim community.



I have always said that just because you CAN say or show something doesn’t mean you say it or show it. As extremists have proven, there are cases where what is said is so offensive to them that it is worth dying for. This is quite different than what abolitionists were writing in the effort to end slavery in the pre-civil war era. Even then, death threats were made against those that wrote articles demanding the end of slavery. In other words, when it comes to defense of human rights and freedoms, editorial, journalistic and artistic freedoms are essential and should have no limits. But when those freedoms are abused by humiliating others just for entertainment value – limits should be considered. If not, those who are most offended, who are also most extreme, have proven that they are willing to kill and die in retaliation to those said offenses. What do you think?

More Articles
- X-Men: Apocalypse' Trounces Alice With $8.2M Thursday Night
- My Prince Experience - Tony Lesesne
- South Florida's new wave of Artistic talent - MUMFF
- FEDS reply to Apple
- Apple gets backing in FBI Phone case
- Star Wars: Episode VIII begins filming
- 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Named Best Sports Car for the Money
- FCC plan would give consumer control of set-top box
- Birth of a nation sells at Sundance for $17.5 Million
- Netflix subscribers set to hit 100mil by 2017
- Wednesday Night Comedy show to hit Miami
- NATPE 2016- Ted Sarandos of Netflix to moderate
- Tesla Model X - The high performance SUV
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens blasts away box office records
- Mazda to Showcase 'Car as Art' Exhibit
- The new Jeep Cherokee reinvigorates the 4x4
- Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall Volunteers Distribute Food
- CareerSource SFL gets top award- FL department of education
- Miami Dolphins Announce 50th Season all time team
- Mazda to Unveil All-New CX-9
- T-Mobile CEO thinks Blackberry might be making a comeback
- The new 2016 Nissan Titan XD takes a gamble
- National Flight Academy receives grant to educate youth
- Ford program recognized by White House initiative
- Understanding the power of the black consumer
- JM Family- Nominations for African American Achievers awards
- MUMFF 2015 - A major success
- Tesla gets a power updgrade on the Model S
- Runcible, a new smartphone shaped like a pocketwatch
- Dynamic performance of the Dodge Viper ACR 2016
- 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Fuel Economy Improves Dramatic 25%
- Future car stirs surprise in San Francisco
- LMG announces BECON TV as Newest Media Partner
- Miami Music Club - Giving drummers a chance to shine
- 5 Things to know about Miami's Tech Scene
- MIA Urban Music & Film Fest building an entertainment hub
- Dodge Viper GT3 proves fastest track car 2015
- Miami Urban Music and Film Festival 2015 is on the horizon
- MIA Urban Music & Film Festival September 25th & 26th
- One of the last Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Williams passes
- Google Cardboard: How VR and AR could take off at Google IO
- Carol City High Defeats Dillard, 31-28
- ASPA Awards recipients 2015
- LMG Entertainment screens six projects at MMFM
- Miami Dolphins Rookies Rebuilding Together Event
- Mazda Reports Second-Best May Since 1996
- LMG is June 2015 Supplier of the Month at Broward College
- Stan Lee brings World of Superheroes to YouTube Spaces
- Surprising ways to lower your data usage
- Chevy Introduces 2016 Corvette Z06 C7.R
- Twitter designs new home page to flock new users
- Teen cuts into Apple watch band market
- Auto advances - The center of Ft. Lauderdale Auto Show 2015
- Ground breaking Rock Band game to make a return on next gen
- Blast Motion Signs Miami HEAT'S James Ennis
- Sea snails now make the strongest material on the planet
- JM Family Announces 2015 African American Achievers
- The Kingsmen Secret Service Review
- 50 Shades of Grey Review
- Hidden Apollo 11 artifacts found in Neil Armstrongs closet
- New VP and General Counsel - South East Toyota Distributors
- Comcast Highlights waves made in the Black Community
- Geoffrey Alardo named M-DCPS Teacher of the year
- Mazda names Jacob Brown Product Comm Specialist
- Black Tech week to position SFL to be a Hub for business
- New Media CEO Suzanne McDonald wins top intl Business Award
- Genetically modded mosquitoes could be released in the keys
- LMG visits NATPE 2015 - Day 1
- Benefits of Pressured Decision Making
- AutoFOCUS - What's the Appeal; My top 3 features
- Family Fest: Seeds of the African Diaspora
- Streaming devices poised to dominate the viewing preference
- The World's Smallest PC
- Chris Rock's Top Five Review
- 6 Ways to kick off 2015 on a High Note
- Mazda reports best annual sales in 20 years
- Cable Giants Partner For Set-Top Box Data
- NATPE Announces on Pace Registration numbers for NATPE 2015
- Raquel Regalado visits Miami High During ‘Hour of Code
- Boxing expert James Smith signs deal w/ Creative Talent inc
- Miami Beach's Alton Road finally completed
- Gloria Estefan Talks Autobiographical Musical, On Your Feet!
- Space probe makes first ever landing onto a comet
- Live local and diverse entertainment ready to take the stage
- 13th Annual AutoFOCUS Awards Recap
- 6 Surprising facts about Diabetes
- MIA Artist to tag Middle School to raise money
- Stampede of 2015 Custom Ford Mustangs
- Miami's Tobacco Road Last Call after 102 Years
- VP of SAMA to be awarded at upcoming AutoFOCUS Awards
- 13th Annual AutoFOCUS Awards to leverage past/advance future
- American Sabor tells Mia's Latin Culture in American Music
- New Miami Central Train Station could become an urban Hub
- Premium Cable Content...without cable
- NATPE 2015 announces Market and Conference Theme
- MAZDA2 Wins Japan's Car of the year