Free speech is absolutely necessary for freedom with anything else. Without it there is no way to legally advocate change. When exceptions are made than that is not true free speech, such as Russia’s lovely policy that there is free speech so long as it does not offend any incumbent politician. Yes many people are offended by certain things, but it is there right to ignore them just as much as it is the right of the offender to offend. While free speech may be used to say hateful shit, attempts to suppress such material only strengthens the convictions of those who buy into that sort of thing.
Of course there are some who believe that certain things are above free speech, and that there should be zero tolerance for anything that depicts sacred cows in an offending way. Nations have the right to determine how free speech is interpreted and carried out, but it is absurd when riots break out calling for the censorship of something that was published thousands of miles away. Nothing brings attention like rioting and attacking individuals who had nothing to do with producing the offending piece. When people carry out such mindless violence it means that they are letting such things take control of their life. In like manner when someone averts publishing someone because they fear the outrage it may cause, they are letting such people take control of their lives. However there is a valid criticism that while people may have the right to say certain things, that it is not wise to do something that may put others in danger.
To quote Charb, who was murdered for his free expression: “To me, these religious hardliners who protest and kill over a crappy film are no different to the people who made the crappy film. They’re all the same pack, a bunch of assholes.”