Types of Expressions

Types of Expressions

The resources on this Module explore the nature and extent of freedom of expression through a focus on specific speech or speakers, such as political speech, art, or protest.  The readings will demonstrate the existence of a range of standards regarding their protection and regulation, largely enshrined in many regional and country practices, although not all.

9 items found, showing 1 - 9

Political Speech

Author: Adrienne Stone and Simon Evans
Media Type Icon

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: Kevin W. Saunders
Media Type Icon

"Free Expression and Democracy takes on the assumption that limits on free expression will lead to authoritarianism or at least a weakening of democracy. That hypothesis is tested by an examination of issues involving expression and their treatment in countries included on The Economist's list of fully functioning democracies. Generally speaking, other countries allow prohibitions on hate speech, limits on third-party spending on elections, and the protection of children from media influences seen as harmful. Many ban Holocaust denial and the desecration of national symbols. Yet, these other countries all remain democratic, and most of those considered rank more highly than the United States on the democracy index. This book argues that while there may be other cultural values that call for more expansive protection of expression, that protection need not reach the level present in the United States in order to protect the democratic nature of a country."

Saunders, Kevin W. Free Expression and Democracy: A Comparative Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. doi:10.1017/9781316771129.

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Media Type Icon

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: UN Human Rights Committee
Media Type Icon

The UN Human Rights Committee adopted (102nd Session) General Comment 34 on States parties' obligations under Article 19 of the ICCPR: Freedoms of opinion and expression (CCPR/C/GC/34). The General Comment provides guidance to States on what the freedoms of opinion and expression mean in practice. Among others, the General Comment refers to: Freedom of expression and the media; Right of access to information; Freedom of expression and political rights; The application of article 19 (3); Limitative scope of restrictions on freedom of expression in certain specific areas; The relationship between articles 19 and 20.

UN, Human Rights Committee. General Comment No. 34. CCPR/C/GC/34. 12 September 2011

Author: MOOC Chile (Prof. Tomás Vial)
Media Type Icon

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: Geoffrey Palmer
Media Type Icon

This article considers the law of sedition, tracing its history through the origins and evolution of such laws in England. It discusses the philosophy behind freedom of expression, identifying the four commonly held justifications for the principle. It contemplates the tradition of free speech in the United States and the relationship between First Amendment free speech, defamation, and sedition, as illustrated in the case New York Times v Sullivan. It argues that sedition (in the form of defamation against the government) strikes at the very heart of democracy and that political freedom ends when government can use its powers and its courts to silence its critics.

Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer, Political Speech and Sedition, 11 & 12 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence 36 (2009) 

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard
Media Type Icon

In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard seeks to define what political speech means, she presents some examples of such speech, and the reaction they have elicited on the part of public authorities. Callamard then turns the attention to the protection of political debates and how courts around the world have sought to protect it.

Author: IACmHR, SRFoE Catalina Botero
Media Type Icon

“The objective of this publication is to present inter-American jurisprudence that defines the scope and content of this right in a systematic and updated way. Among the most important topics it highlights: the importance, function, and characteristics of the right to freedom of expression, as well as the types of speech protected; the prohibition of censorship and indirect restrictions; the protection of journalists and social communications media; the exercise of freedom of expression by public officials; and freedom of expression in the area of electoral processes.”

OAS, IACmHR, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero. The Inter-American Legal Framework Regarding the Right to Freedom of Expression. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. CIDH/RELE/INF. 2/09. 30 December 2009

Author: Media Legal Defence Initiative
Media Type Icon

"This manual has been produced as a resource material for training workshops on media and freedom of expression law. It contains resources and background material to help trainers prepare and participants to understand the issues being discussed [...] The manual and training presentations are aimed at an audience of lawyers, with experience of litigation, but not necessarily of media, freedom of expression or human rights law. It covers international and comparative law only, and should be supplemented with relevant national law standards for the country in which they are being used.” 

Media Legal Defence Initiative. Training Manual on international and comparative media and freedom of expression law (2013).