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.

10 items found, showing 1 - 10

Protest and Freedom of Association

Author: Lisa Chamberlain
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"Many human rights have a dual value in that their realisation is both an important end, and a means to enable the realisation of other rights. The effective implementation of these kinds of rights is thus particularly important for advancing rights-based democracy. However, in practice, the implementation of such rights is often problematic. The article examines access to information and protest as examples of such ‘enabling’ rights. Drawing on the experience of communities and civil society organisations, it identifies and discusses some striking similarities in the way in which the legislation promulgated to give effect to these two rights in South Africa is being implemented, and argues that the problematic implementation of legislation is having the effect of thwarting these rights, rather than promoting them. Further, it argues that the existence of such striking similarities may point to a more systemic problem of civil and political rights failing to enable the realisation of socio-economic rights."

Chamberlain, Lisa. “Assessing enabling rights: Striking similarities in troubling implementation of the rights to protest and access to information in South Africa” African Human Rights Law Journal 16, no. 2 (2016): 365-384.

Author: Erica Goldberg
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“This Article endeavors to catalog and resolve cases involving competing free speech values, and then applies its solutions to violent and disruptive protests. Almost every First Amendment case can be framed as implicating free speech values on both sides of the First Amendment equation. Government action directly abridges speech, but government inaction may allow private parties too much control over others’ speech. First Amendment doctrine, which generally protects speech only from suppression by state actors, can thus compromise the very free speech values that form the rationales for the First Amendment. Scholars and litigants have argued that government regulation of speech, to preserve free speech values, is necessary in areas ranging from campaign finance, to access to media resources, to bigoted speech. This Article argues that strict adherence to a formal state action doctrine should resolve most, but not all, clashes between free speech doctrine and values. A robust application of the state action doctrine—where government interference to preserve speech values is not considered as part of the First Amendment calculus—also best advances both formal and substantive First Amendment equality. This Article proceeds in three parts. First, the Article chronicles the Supreme Court’s approach to cases involving competing free speech values. The Article then demonstrates why the state action doctrine, with its associated formal equality and neutrality principles, will ultimately advance free speech values. Finally, the Article considers political protests, and distinguishes between prosecution of violent protesters, which should be encouraged, and legislation criminalizing disruptive protest tactics, which may be unconstitutional.”

Goldberg, Erica. “Competing Free Speech Values in an Age of Protest”. Cardozo Law Review 39, no. 6 (2018): 2163-2212.

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: Rosario Soraide
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This report is the result of in-depth research and the conclusions from 20 interviews with professionals with expertise in media freedom, artistic freedom, and the defense of human rights advocates and artists. It compares the safeguards and procedures in place to defend the legal rights of journalists and artists in urgent situations. The study's overarching objective is to promote collaborations between groups that support the safety of artists and journalists. While highlighting ways in which cooperation could be advantageous to both the advocacy communities focused, respectively, on artistic and media freedom, it suggests concrete action to expand protection for artists' safety in crises, learning from the advanced movement for the protection of journalists. 

Rosario Soraide. 'Defending creative voices: artists in emergencies, learning from the safety of journalists'. 2023. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000385265

Author: Maina Kiai
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"The purpose of FOAA Online! is to provide easily accessible legal arguments to assist lawyers, activists and judges involved in freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association (FOAA) cases. The site is organized per thematic topic or sub-question in order to direct users as straightforwardly as possible to relevant legal arguments. The FOAA Q&A assists users to link actual facts and incidents to pertinent legal questions. The website focuses on the most widespread issues experienced by those exercising their FOAA rights around the world." To see FOAA Online! in its native Web format, go to: http://freeassembly.net/foaa-online

Author: UN SRFPAA Maina Kiai
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"This document summarizes three general principles under international human rights norms and standards regarding the ability of civil society to seek, receive and use resources. The left hand column provides arguments supporting specific aspects of each principle, while the right hand column provides the legal basis or background for the argument. Where relevant, hyperlinks are provided to original sources."

Author: Article 19
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The Global Expression Report 2023 provides a comprehensive analysis of the state of freedom of expression worldwide. It assesses 161 countries using 25 indicators to assign each a score between 0 and 100, categorizing them into various levels of expression freedom: In Crisis (0-19), Highly Restricted (20-39), Restricted (40-59), Less Restricted (60-79), and Open (80-100).

Key findings include:

1. **Decline in Global Expression**: There has been a significant decline in freedom of expression globally. The Global Expression Score, the mean average of country scores, has dropped by 6 points since 2012. Even more concerning is the Human Score, weighted by population, which shows a 13-point decline over the same period.

2. **Widespread Repression**: Around 80% of the global population now lives with less freedom of expression than a decade ago, affecting over 6 billion people in more than 80 countries. The 21st century has seen an increase in repression for the majority of the world's population.

3. **Disproportionate Impact**: The report highlights that more countries are experiencing declines in freedom than those witnessing improvements. Notably, countries with declining freedoms tend to have larger populations. For instance, 95% of countries that have seen advances in the last decade have populations under 50 million, whereas only 74% of countries with declining freedoms have populations of that size.

Overall, the report paints a concerning picture of the current state and trends of global freedom of expression.

Article 19. 'Global Expression Report 2023'. 2023. https://www.globalexpressionreport.org/

Author: Amnesty International
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This short course 'Human Rights: The Right to Freedom of Expression' created by Amnesty International "will equip you with the knowledge to understand and claim your right to freedom of expression, and the skills and confidence to take action to defend it. Learn from the experts at Amnesty International how to claim and defend your rights in this human rights course. You will be challenged to think critically and devise effective actions to defend the human rights of others. You will be able to adapt the human rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly to real life situations and come face-to-face with human rights activists on the front line of human rights defense." "The course ran from 17 November to 8 December 2015 and remains online for you to browse or refresh your knowledge in archive mode."

Author: Association for Progressive Communications
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"The Internet rights are human rights is a series of training modules concerned with the relationship between human rights, ICTs and the internet. These modules are intended to help those who work on human rights and/or ICTs, and others with an interest in the issues, to understand ways in which the internet is affecting the enjoyment and protection of rights – now and in the future – and explore how these affect their work." The modules are: Introduction to Human rights, ICTs and the internet; Freedom of association and freedom of assembly; Freedom of expression and freedom of information;The right to privacy.

Association for Progressive Communications, Internet rights are human rights, 2013, http://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/irhr.shtml 

Author: Jeremy Bentham
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Bentham’s statement of press freedom argues to permit political associations/assemblies in public and resistance to governmental authority as a check to abuse of power. Special mention of permitting criticism, including of state officials, and a discussion of how sedition and defamation of public officials should be addressed.

Bentham, Jeremy. The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 2. Available from http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1921