Looking into the past, we see our ancestors, especially women, fight for their basic rights. These include freedom of speech, the right to say anything you want. But this hard-earned treasure of society is in danger of diminishing.
Governments and special groups, especially at universities and colleges, try to ban all hurtful or harmful words. This suppression of speech is being called “political correctness”. At said universities there are even special “free speech zones”. These are the only locations where students are allowed to talk about what is on their mind and say what they want. On the rest of the campus there are limits of speech. Students should not say the banned words to avoid “difficult topics” or micro aggressions like racist, sexist or controversial comments. In my opinion all of this is also to give some people intellectual comfort.
Inclusive language campaigns are not going to change anything. Most of the words on the “list of unacceptable words” are absolutely ridiculous. In the future each and every word on this planet can somehow be seen as something offensive. The sense of this list is to avoid people hitting sensitive spots when talking to another person but the cannot be prevented by just banning words. Terms like “black people” are being changed to ” African-American” by the government to avoid racial discrimination, but what if a black person, born and raised in America does not identify with this? Maybe he or she will be offended by the term “African-American”. Same goes for religious backgrounds.
My overall point of view is that every speech should be free. But should for example personal things like religion, or funny things, that are not to be taken seriously, get a waver? Yes and no. Religion is a very delicate topic to talk about. Some people take it very seriously whilst others do not care about it. Whereas with comedy you already know that whatever the person/comedian is going to say, has almost never an intend to hurt you or your religion, just to entertain.
All in all I think my opinion is quite clear: all or nothing. Free speech does not exclude anything. You say what you think and have to live with the consequences. Thinking before speaking is here the key. Criticism is nothing bad as long as you are polite.
In my opinion Austria is a very accepting country. Freedom of speech is nothing new and is well accomplished. There are of course different censorships for television or the general media. Also we have the “Verfassungsschutz und Terrrorismusbekämpfung” which is a special organization.