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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 46

    "Heckler's veto"

    I looked over the WIKI's article "heckler's veto" but couldn't understand what was being said. Would you explain the term more understandably?

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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Re: "Heckler's veto"

    A heckler is a person who makes loud, usually rude remarks from the audience to a speaker or performer. A heckler can "veto" a speaker; that is, shout down or boo a speaker, and thereby prevent the speaker from being heard.

    Now, suppose a speaker is onstage addressing an audience on a controversial issue. Suddenly a group of people in the crowd start shouting an opposing viewpoint, interrupting his speech. Technically, by law in the United States, this behavior is protected by the First Amendment (right to free speech). However, if security feels that the hecklers are getting out of hand and the siutation is getting dangerous (for example, if their constant shouting provokes others in the audience to shout back with a dissenting opinion) and it looks like a possible riot could ensue, then they might forcibly remove the troublemakers, or even arrest them.

    If they are arrested, their case will come to court, and eventually the judge will be required to make a decision. Were they simply exercising their right to free speech and freedom of assembly? Or were they a potential danger to the other people? Historically, however, such charges have usually been dismissed, because technically there is no Constitutional right to be heard by a quiet, polite, or respectful audience. Hecklers act as individuals, not agents of government, and so suppression of freedom of speech by hecklers themselves is not a First Amendment issue.

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 46

    Re: "Heckler's veto"

    Thank you very much for taking time for me to explain the term so clearly!


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