Political dissent refers to any expression designed to convey dissatisfaction with or opposition to the policies of a governing body. Such expression may take forms from vocal disagreement to civil disobedience to the use of violence. In most democratic countries, non-violent demonstration and disagreement with the government are regarded as fundamental human rights.
Historically, repressive governments have sought to punish political dissent. The protection of freedoms that facilitate peaceful dissent has become a hallmark of free and open societies. Repression of political dissent is considered as an attempt to stifle public discourse about government lies, corruption, or ineptitude.
A report on the World Socialist Web Site from 2013 lists several cases of oppression of political dissent in the United States. For example, a high school student was arrested and charged under "terrorism" laws for posting lyrics on facebook that make references to the Boston Marathon bombing.