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

10 items found, showing 11 - 10

Other key standards

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
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Here you will find the Syllabus for the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. This course will examine the norms, institutions and forces that altogether have founded a global system of protection for freedom of expression and information. The Foundational Course will include four main segments. It will first survey the thinking of 19th century and contemporary political theorists, Judges in the early years of the twentieth century, and economists to discover why freedom of expression and information matters, and the values and principles that are established through free speech. The second will review the emergence of an international system of protection for freedom of expression, including the international and regional institutions and standards, and the role of international courts. The third and fourth class will focus on the scope of freedom of expression and on its legitimate limits. We will provide answer two key questions: What kind of speech is protected under international standards? What kind of speech may be restricted by Governments and how can it be legally restricted?

Author: Centre for Law and Democracy and International Media Support
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“This series of Briefing Notes is designed to give readers an understanding of the key international legal standards that apply in the context of freedom of expression. They are aimed at an audience which does not necessarily have a deep understanding of freedom of expression issues, but they also aim to be of interest and relevance to more sophisticated freedom of expression observers and practitioners. Thus, while the Briefing Notes are designed to be broadly accessible, they also provide readers with fairly in-depth knowledge about freedom of expression issues. Each individual Briefing Note addresses a different thematic freedom of expression issue. The first, perhaps predictably, is titled Freedom of Expression as a Human Right, while the second looks at the permissible scope of restrictions on freedom of expression under international law. Several of the Briefing Notes focus on different areas of media regulation, including print, broadcast and public service media, journalists, media diversity and independent regulation. This reflects the central role media regulation plays both in terms of guaranteeing freedom of expression and in the legal frameworks found in democracies relating to freedom of expression. There are also Briefing Notes on both criminal and civil restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as on the right to information (or freedom of information) and digital rights. In addition to providing substantive guidance in the relevant thematic area, the Briefing Notes contain a number of pithy quotes from leading sources. The idea is to provide readers with quick access to ‘quotable quotes’ for possible reuse in their work. Each Note also contains a section at the end on further resources, for readers who want to probe the subject more deeply.”

Centre for Law and Democracy and International Media Support. “Freedom of Expression Briefing Note Series”. 2014. https://www.mediasupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/foe-briefingnot….

Author: Lockdown Lecture Series, Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud
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In this webinar organized by Rishit Vimadalal for the Lockdown Lecture Series, Advocate (India) and legal scholar Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud discusses the breadth and scope of the right to freedom of speech and expression in India from pre-constitutional to contemporary times. The broad themes spanned by the webinar are: the law of prior restraints; the law of sedition in India; the concerns about the propensity for laws pertaining to and regulating free speech and expression to be changed during pandemics such as the COVID-19; Constituent Assembly Debates about free speech and expression as a right in India; Constitutional amendments and their implications for free speech and expression; and interesting nuances of obscenity, contempt of court, and criminal defamation.

Lockdown Lecture Series, Abhinav Chandrachud. “Freedom of Speech and Expression”. April 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv68g8HVvTM.

Author: Oxford Kashmir Forum, Prof. David Kaye
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This lecture is the sixth to be delivered in a series of lectures which are part of the Oxford Kashmir Forum’s online course on ‘International Human Rights Law and Kashmir: Prospects and Challenges’. In this lecture, Prof. David Kaye discusses the ways in which the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under International Human Rights Law as well as the obligations it imposes on States. In particular, Prof. Kaye emphasizes on the role such laws play in our online lives as well as discusses the nature of the function of the actors who animate the space of internet governance. Recognizing issues of speech and expression as some of the most direct as well as salient issues of law and public policy globally, he provokes his listener to think more deeply about what those issues are as well as who should determine answers to those issues in a democratic world.   

Oxford Kashmir Forum (Prof. David Kaye). “Freedom of Speech and Expression.” 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5YB7y-WWvM.

Author: Walter Berns
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The author analyses the Alien and Sedition Laws in America in the backdrop of Freedom of Press and the Alien and Sedition Laws.

Berns, Walter. "Freedom of the Press and the Alien and Sedition Laws: A Reappraisal." The Supreme Court Review 1970 (1970): 109-59. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3108724.

Author: Projek Dialog and ARTICLE 19
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The objective of this infographic, designed collaboratively by Projek Dialog and ARTICLE 19, is to respond to the “growing demand for clear guidelines to identify ‘hate speech’” and to address the “challenges it poses to human rights”. The infographic primarily endeavours to generate an understanding about the following: 1) what hate speech is, 2) how hate speech which can be restricted can be identified in juxtaposition to protected speech, and 3) the positive measures States and other stakeholders need to take in order to produce a countervailing effect to hate speech. 

Projek Dialog and ARTICLE 19. “Hate Speech: An Infographic”. October 2020. https://projekdialog.com/blog/hate-speech-an-infographic/.    

Author: Steven J. Heyman
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Modern liberal-democratic nations are divided over whether the right to freedom of expression should extend to hate speech, which abuses, degrades, or promotes violence or discrimination against others based on traits like race, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Most liberal democracies outlaw certain forms of public hate speech in order to protect the dignity, equality, and security of the targeted groups. At the same time, the United States rejects this position and holds that public hate speech generally should receive constitutional protection.

This essay argues that bans on public and private hate speech can contradict liberal principles. It focuses on the writings of John Locke, which laid the theoretical foundations of the modern liberal state and addressed the problem of speech that denies the equal status and rights of others. Locke's thought offers a valuable starting point for considering how liberal principles should apply to hate speech.

This essay presents a theory of free expression based on liberal humanism, which argues that free speech is based on respect for human freedom and dignity, but does not entitle one to infringe on the rights of others. It uses this approach to grapple with the problem of hate speech, which may be restricted on the grounds that it violates the most basic right of all: the right to be recognized and treated as a human being and a member of the community. Locke argued that expression that sought to deny freedom and equality to religious minorities should not receive legal protection because it invaded its targets' rights and undermined society's foundations. The essay also responds to two of the leading liberal arguments against hate-speech bans: that they violate individual autonomy and undermine democratic legitimacy.

Heinze, Eric; Alkiviadou, Natalie; Herrenberg, Tom; Parmar, Sejal and Tourkochoriti, Ioanna, Eds. The Oxford Handbook of Hate Speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024-25.

Author: MOOC Chile (Prof. Tomás Vial)
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This introductory lesson on Freedom of Expression, delivered by Prof. Tomás Vial, is Lecture 9 of the free online course on International Human Rights Law offered by MOOC Chile. In this lesson, Prof. Vial explores answers to primarily two questions: 1) what is the freedom of expression? and 2) why is it an important right? Identifying the freedom of expression as an essential right in a democratic society, Prof. Vial elaborates on the following in this lesson: 1) sources of freedom of speech in International Human Rights Law, 2) the types of discourses which are protected and those which are not, 3) the main justifications for the protection of free expression, and, 4) the main restrictions to which the freedom of expression may be subjected.

MOOC Chile (Prof. Tomás Vial). “Introduction to Human Rights: Freedom of Expression.” 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txQih8zwhH8&t=171s.

Author: UNESCO, Rachel Pollack
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This issue brief on ‘Journalism, Press Freedom and COVID-19’ is part of the UNESCO series ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development’. It highlights the key global trends in the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the freedom of the press and journalism. These trends include: “1) fueling the pandemic, a dangerous “disinfodemic” has arisen, 2) against soaring demand for verified information, independent media have risen to the challenge, 3) technology companies are taking action, but more transparency is needed, 4) some regulatory measures have led to new restrictions of human rights, 5) to keep the public informed, journalists are putting their own safety at risk, 6) the economic impact of COVID-19 may pose an existential threat to journalism, 7) amid the crisis, there are new opportunities to stand up for journalism.” The objective of the issue brief is for it to serve as referential guidance for UNESCO member States, civil society organizations, media outfits, and internet companies.

UNESCO, Rachel Pollack. “Journalism, Press Freedom and COVID-19”. 2020. https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/unesco_covid_brief_en.pdf

Author: John Rawls
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Rawls’ discussion of the first principle of justice, which he terms the “liberty principle”, particularly when it would be justified to limit basic liberties such as that of speech.

John Rawls. "Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical." Philosophy & Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (1985): 223-51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2265349.