Women UN UDHR

Scope of Freedom of Expression

This Module focuses on the extent and limits of freedom of expression under international human rights treaties beginning with the ICCPR, as well as under the regional human rights conventions of Europe, the Americas and Africa. The Module includes extensive readings and jurisprudence on the three-part test, the legal test that governs in many countries around the world the legitimate restrictions to freedom of expression

9 items found, showing 1 - 9
Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard reviews the international context which presided over the development and adoption of the ICCPR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the various debates which characterized the drafting of the provision related to freedom of expression. Callamard also explains two additional institutions which have made the ICCPR a particularly important tool for the protection of human rights and freedom of expression in particular.

Author: Adrienne Stone and Simon Evans
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The Australian Constitution lacks a comprehensive statement of rights. The few rights which have been judicially recognized by the High Court of Australia have typically been narrowly interpreted. One such right is the freedom of political communication, which is a restricted/limited kind of free speech right. Though the early 1990s witnessed several decisions in which the freedom of speech was protected in fairly expansive ways, the doctrine was revised in 1997 due to growing doubts about its “more adventurous applications” within the Court. In Lange, the affirmation of the doctrine was accompanied by an emphasis on the limits imposed on the right by the text and structure of the Constitution, and the afterlife of Lange until Coleman witnessed the failure of all free speech challenges levelled in the High Court of Australia. In this article, Stone and Evans discuss how the decision in Coleman affirms the survival of the freedom of political communication as well as clarifies several aspects of the doctrine. They highlight that the quashing of Coleman’s conviction is reflective of the rejection of arguments about the legitimacy of the State’s endeavour to mandate civility in political communication. They argue that the Judiciary’s decision reveals a preference for public debate which tolerates insult as well as other forms of uncivil expression, and that such a justification “exposes the fragility of the consensus regarding the legitimacy of the implied freedom established in Lange.”

Stone, Adrienne, and Evans, Simon. “Australia: Freedom of Speech and Insult in the High Court of Australia”. International Journal of Constitutional Law 4, no. 4 (2006): 677-688.

Author: Susan Benesch
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“Private social media companies regulate much more speech than any government does, and their platforms are being used to bring about serious harm. Yet companies govern largely on their own, and in secret. To correct this, advocates have proposed that companies follow international human-rights law. That law–by far the world’s best-known rules for governing speech–could improve regulation itself, and would also allow for better transparency and oversight on behalf of billions of people who use social media. This paper argues that for this to work, the law must first be interpreted to clarify how (and whether) each of its provisions are suited to this new purpose. For example, the law provides that speech may be restricted to protect national security, as one of only five permissible bases for limiting speech. Governments, for which international law was written, may regulate on that basis, but not private companies which have no national security to protect. To fill some of the gap, the paper explains and interprets the most relevant provisions of international human-rights law–Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which pertain to freedom of expression–for use by social media companies, in novel detail.”

Benesch, Susan. “But Facebook’s Not a Country: How to Interpret Human Rights Law for Social Media Companies.” Yale Journal on Regulation Online Bulletin 38 (2020): 86-111.

Author: IACtHR
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“[T]he Government of Costa Rica […] submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights […] an advisory opinion request relating to the interpretation of Articles 13 [Freedom of thought and expression] and 29 [Restrictions Regarding Interpretation] of the American Convention on Human Rights […] as they affect the compulsory membership in an association prescribed by law for the practice of journalism […]. The request also sought the Court's interpretation relating to the compatibility of Law No. 4420 of September 22, 1969, Organic Law of the Colegio de Periodistas (Association of Journalists) of Costa Rica […], with the provisions of the aforementioned articles.”

IACtHR, Compulsory Membership in an Association Prescribed by Law for the Practice of Journalism. Advisory Opinion OC-5/85. Series A, No. 5. 13 November 1985

Author: M.G. Wallace
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This article examines the constitutionality of Sedition Laws in the United States and its relation with the freedom of speech and expression. The author also provides an account of the historical underpinnings of Sedition Laws.

Wallace, M. G. "Constitutionality of Sedition Laws." Virginia Law Review 6, no. 6 (1920): 385-99. doi:10.2307/1064269.

Author: A. G. Noorani
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This book review discusses the theory of Contempt of Court, in the context of its removal from the English courts, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Australian High Courts, and the Tasmanian case of a newspaper called The Mercury, and concludes with the note that though our Constitution adopted British law as frozen in 1950, it has failed to since then keep up with the developments in it, or with its spirit.

Noorani, A. G. "Contempt of Court and Free Speech." Economic and Political Weekly 36, no. 20 (2001): 1693-694. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4410630.

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Dirk Voorhoof
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, professor Dr. Dirk Voorhoof  from Ghent University, Belgium addresses how is freedom of speech, freedom of expression, guaranteed under the European human rights system

Author: Frederick Schauer
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This article unpacks and explains the chilling effect and discusses how uncertainty generally and the chilling effect will affect how various classes of speech are treated.

Frederick Schauer, "Fear, Risk and the First Amendment: Unraveling the Chilling Effect" (1978). Faculty Publications. 879. https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/facpubs/879

Author: UN, OSCE and OAS Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression
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First Joint Declaration of the International Mechanisms for Promoting Freedom of Expression

UN, OSCE and OAS Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression, First Joint Declaration, November 26, 1999.