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Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and bein ...

freedom
of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation,
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
, or legal sanction. The
right Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is desc ...
to freedom of expression has been recognised as a human right in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
and
international human rights law International human rights law (IHRL) is the body of international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It est ...
by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
. Many countries have
constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. ...
that protects free speech. Terms like ''free speech'', ''freedom of speech,'' and ''freedom of expression'' are used interchangeably in political discourse. However, in legal sense, the freedom of expression includes any activity of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary " r respect of the rights or reputation of others" or " r the protection of
national security National security or national defence is the security and Defence (military), defence of a sovereign state, nation state, including its Citizenship, citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government. Originally c ...
or of public order (order public), or of public health or
morals Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intention is a mind, mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought. Def ...

morals
." Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to
libel Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander, or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort A tort, in commo ...

libel
,
slander Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime In ord ...
,
obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the pl ...
,
pornography Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of Human sexual activity, sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.
,
sedition Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...

sedition
,
incitement In criminal law, incitement is the encouragement of another person to commit a crime. Depending on the jurisdiction, some or all types of incitement may be illegal. Where illegal, it is known as an inchoate offense, where harm is intended but ma ...
,
fighting words Fighting words are written or spoken words intended to incite hatred or violence from their target. Specific definitions, freedoms, and limitations of fighting words vary by jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'la ...
,
classified information Classified Information is material that a government body deems to be sensitive information Information sensitivity is the control of access to information Access may refer to: Companies and organizations * ACCESS (Australia), an Australian ...
,
copyright violation Copyright infringement (at times referred to as piracy) is the use of Copyright#Scope, works protected by copyright law without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the ...
,
trade secrets Trade secrets are a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more ...
,
food labeling The packaging and labeling of food is subject to regulation in most regions/jurisdictions, both to prevent false advertising and to promote food safety. Regulations by type Multi-faceted * Codex Alimentarius (international voluntary standard) ...
,
non-disclosure agreements A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal Law is a system A system is a group o ...
, the
right to privacy The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and ...
,
dignity Dignity is the right Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal s ...

dignity
, the
right to be forgotten The right to be forgotten is the right to have private information about a person be removed from Internet searches and other directories under some circumstances. The concept has been discussed and put into practice in both the European Union ...
,
public security Public security is the function of governments which ensures the protection of citizens, persons in their territory, organizations, and institutions against threats to their well-being – and to the prosperity of their communities. To meet the i ...
, and
perjury Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is beha ...
. Justifications for such include the
harm principle The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in ''On Liberty'', where he argued that "The only purpose for which power can be right ...
, proposed by
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
in ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'', which suggests that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." The idea of the "offense principle" is also used in the justification of speech limitations, describing the restriction on forms of expression deemed offensive to society, considering factors such as extent, duration, motives of the speaker, and ease with which it could be avoided. With the evolution of the
digital age#REDIRECT Information Age The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a historical periodHuman history is commonly divided into three main Era, eras — Ancient history, Ancient, Post-classical history, ...
, application of freedom of speech becomes more controversial as new means of communication and restrictions arise, for example the
Golden Shield Project The Golden Shield Project (), also named National Public Security Work Informational Project, is the Chinese nationwide network-security fundamental constructional project by the e-government of the People's Republic of China China, of ...
, an initiative by Chinese government's
Ministry of Public Security Ministry of Public Security can refer to: * Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Brazil) * Ministry of Public Security of Burundi * Ministry of Public Security (China) * Ministry of Public Security of Costa Rica that supervises the Public Force ...

Ministry of Public Security
that filters potentially unfavourable data from foreign countries.


Origins and history

Freedom of speech and expression has a long history that predates modern
international human rights instruments International human rights instruments are the treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set ...
. It is thought that the ancient Athenian democratic principle of free speech may have emerged in the late 6th or early 5th century BC. The values of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
included freedom of speech and
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freed ...
. Freedom of speech was vindicated by
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...

Erasmus
and .
Edward Coke Sir Edward Coke ( "cook", formerly ; 1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) was an English , judge, and politician who is considered the greatest jurist of the and eras. Born into an upper-class family, Coke was educated at , before leavin ...

Edward Coke
claimed freedom of speech as "an ancient custom of Parliament" in the 1590s, and it was affirmed in the
Protestation of 1621 The Protestation of 1621 was a declaration by the House of Commons of England reaffirming their right to freedom of speech in the face of King James I of England, James I's belief that they had no right to debate foreign policy. Many Members of P ...
. England's
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a , namely, the , the ...
legally established the constitutional right of freedom of speech in Parliament which is still in effect, so-called
parliamentary privilege Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, pat ...
. One of the world's first
freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
acts was introduced in Sweden in 1766, mainly due to the
classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide a ...
member of parliament and Ostrobothnian priest
Anders Chydenius Anders Chydenius (; 26 February 1729 – 1 February 1803) was a Finnish Lutheran priest and a member of the Swedish Riksdag, and is known as the leading classical liberal Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberali ...

Anders Chydenius
. Excepted and liable to prosecution was only vocal opposition to the
King King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

King
and the
Church of Sweden The Church of Sweden ( sv, Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against w ...
. The
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most ...
, adopted during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
in 1789, specifically affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right. Adopted in 1791, freedom of speech is a feature of the
First Amendment to the United States Constitution The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally compris ...
. The French Declaration provides for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that: Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
, adopted in 1948, states that: Today, freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognised in international and regional
human rights law International human rights law (IHRL) is the body of international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A na ...
. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the c ...
, Article 10 of the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
, Article 13 of the
American Convention on Human Rights The American Convention on Human Rights, also known as the Pact of San José, is an international human rights instrument. It was adopted by many countries in the Western Hemisphere in San José, Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Ri ...
and Article 9 of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter) is an international human rights instrument that is intended to promote and protect human rights Human rights are moral principles or normsJames Nickel, w ...
.Andrew Puddephatt, Freedom of Expression, The essentials of Human Rights, Hodder Arnold, 2005, p. 128 Based on
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects: # the right to seek information and ideas; # the right to receive information and ideas; # the right to impart information and ideas International, regional and national standards also recognise that freedom of speech, as the freedom of expression, includes any medium, whether it be orally, in written, in print, through the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
or through art forms. This means that the protection of freedom of speech as a right includes not only the content, but also the means of expression.


Relationship to other rights

The right to freedom of speech and expression is closely related to other rights, and may be limited when conflicting with other rights (see limitations on freedom of speech). The right to freedom of expression is also related to the
right to a fair trial A trial which is observed by a judge without being partial is a fair trial. Various rights associated with a fair trial are explicitly proclaimed in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Sixth Amendment to the United States ...
and court proceeding which may limit access to the search for information, or determine the opportunity and means in which freedom of expression is manifested within court proceedings. As a general principle freedom of expression may not limit the
right to privacy The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and ...
, as well as the honor and reputation of others. However greater latitude is given when criticism of public figures is involved. The right to freedom of expression is particularly important for
media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications deliv ...
, which plays a special role as the bearer of the general right to freedom of expression for all. However,
freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
does not necessarily enable freedom of speech. Judith Lichtenberg has outlined conditions in which freedom of the press may constrain freedom of speech, for example, if all the people who control the various mediums of publication suppress information or stifle the diversity of voices inherent in freedom of speech. This limitation was famously summarised as "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one". Lichtenberg argues that
freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
is simply a form of
property right The right to property or right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically heavily ...
summed up by the principle "no money, no voice."


As a negative right

Freedom of speech is usually seen as a
negative right Negative and positive rights are rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people acco ...
. This means that the government is legally obliged to take no action against the speaker on the basis of the speaker's views, but that no one is obliged to help any speakers publish their views, and no one is required to listen to, agree with, or acknowledge the speaker or the speaker's views.


Democracy in relation to social interaction

Freedom of speech is understood to be fundamental in a democracy. The norms on limiting freedom of expression mean that public debate may not be completely suppressed even in times of emergency. One of the most notable proponents of the link between freedom of speech and
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
is
Alexander Meiklejohn Alexander Meiklejohn (; 3 February 1872 – 17 December 1964) was a philosopher, university administrator, educational reformer, and free-speech advocate, best known as president of Amherst College Amherst College ( ) is a private liberal ...

Alexander Meiklejohn
. He has argued that the concept of democracy is that of self-government by the people. For such a system to work, an informed electorate is necessary. In order to be appropriately knowledgeable, there must be no constraints on the free flow of information and ideas. According to Meiklejohn, democracy will not be true to its essential ideal if those in power are able to manipulate the electorate by withholding information and stifling criticism. Meiklejohn acknowledges that the desire to manipulate opinion can stem from the motive of seeking to benefit society. However, he argues, choosing manipulation negates, in its means, the democratic ideal.
Eric BarendtEric M. Barendt is the Goodman Professor of Media Law at University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , established = , type = Public university, Public research university , endowment = £143 milli ...
has called this defence of free speech on the grounds of democracy "probably the most attractive and certainly the most fashionable free speech theory in modern Western democracies." Thomas I. Emerson expanded on this defence when he argued that freedom of speech helps to provide a balance between stability and
change Change or Changing may refer to: Alteration * Impermanence Impermanence, also known as the philosophical problem This is a list of the major unsolved problems in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundam ...
. Freedom of speech acts as a "safety valve" to let off steam when people might otherwise be bent on
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...

revolution
. He argues that "The principle of open discussion is a method of achieving a more adaptable and at the same time more stable community, of maintaining the precarious balance between healthy cleavage and necessary consensus." Emerson furthermore maintains that "Opposition serves a vital social function in offsetting or ameliorating (the) normal process of bureaucratic decay." Research undertaken by the
Worldwide Governance Indicators Based on a long-standing research program of the World Bank, the Worldwide Governance Indicators capture six key dimensions of governance (Voice & Accountability, Political Stability and Lack of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quali ...
project at the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
, indicates that freedom of speech, and the process of accountability that follows it, have a significant impact in the quality of
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
of a country. "Voice and Accountability" within a country, defined as "the extent to which a country's
citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and th ...

citizen
s are able to participate in selecting their
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
, as well as freedom of expression,
freedom of association Freedom of association encompasses both an individual's right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an association to accept or decline memb ...
, and free media" is one of the six dimensions of governance that the Worldwide Governance Indicators measure for more than 200 countries. Against this backdrop it is important that development agencies create grounds for effective support for a free press in developing countries. Richard Moon has developed the argument that the value of freedom of speech and freedom of expression lies with social interactions. Moon writes that "by communicating an individual forms relationships and associations with others – family, friends, co-workers, church congregation, and countrymen. By entering into discussion with others an individual participates in the development of knowledge and in the direction of the community."


Limitations

Freedom of speech is not regarded as absolute by some with most legal systems generally setting limits on the freedom of speech, particularly when freedom of speech conflicts with other rights and protections, such as in the cases of
libel Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander, or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort A tort, in commo ...
,
slander Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime In ord ...
,
pornography Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of Human sexual activity, sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.
,
obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the pl ...
,
fighting words Fighting words are written or spoken words intended to incite hatred or violence from their target. Specific definitions, freedoms, and limitations of fighting words vary by jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'la ...
, and
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
. Some limitations to freedom of speech may occur through legal sanction, and others may occur through social disapprobation.


Harmful and offensive content

Some views are illegal to express because it can cause harm to others. This category often includes speech that is both false and dangerous, such as falsely shouting "Fire!" in a theatre and causing a panic. Justifications for limitations to freedom of speech often reference the "
harm principle The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in ''On Liberty'', where he argued that "The only purpose for which power can be right ...
" or the "offence principle." In ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'' (1859),
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
argued that "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered." Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment. In 1985,
Joel Feinberg Joel Feinberg (October 19, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan (strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on bo ...
introduced what is known as the "offence principle". Feinberg wrote, "It is always a good reason in support of a proposed criminal prohibition that it would probably be an effective way of preventing serious offence (as opposed to injury or harm) to persons other than the actor, and that it is probably a necessary means to that end." Hence Feinberg argues that the harm principle sets the bar too high and that some forms of expression can be legitimately prohibited by law because they are very offensive. But, as offending someone is less serious than harming someone, the penalties imposed should be higher for causing harm. In contrast, Mill does not support legal penalties unless they are based on the harm principle. Because the degree to which people may take offence varies, or may be the result of unjustified prejudice, Feinberg suggests that a number of factors need to be taken into account when applying the offence principle, including: the extent, duration and social value of the speech, the ease with which it can be avoided, the motives of the speaker, the number of people offended, the intensity of the offence, and the general interest of the community at large. Jasper Doomen argued that harm should be defined from the point of view of the individual citizen, not limiting harm to physical harm since nonphysical harm may also be involved; Feinberg's distinction between harm and offence is criticized as largely trivial. In 1999,
Bernard Harcourt Bernard E. Harcourt (born 1963) is an American critical theorist with a specialization in the area of punishment, surveillance, legal and political theory, and political economy. He also does pro-bono legal work on human rights issues. He is a pr ...

Bernard Harcourt
wrote of the collapse of the harm principle: "Today the debate is characterized by a cacophony of competing harm arguments without any way to resolve them. There is no longer an argument within the structure of the debate to resolve the competing claims of harm. The original harm principle was never equipped to determine the relative importance of harms." Interpretations of both the harm and offense limitations to freedom of speech are culturally and politically relative. For instance, in Russia, the harm and offense principles have been used to justify the
Russian LGBT propaganda law The Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering and ...
restricting speech (and action) in relation to
LGBT ' is an initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (li ...

LGBT
issues. A number of European countries that take pride in freedom of speech nevertheless outlaw speech that might be interpreted as
Holocaust denial Holocaust denial is the act of denying the Nazi genocide of Jews in the Holocaust. Holocaust deniers make one or more of the following false statements: *Nazi Germany's Final Solution was aimed only at Expulsions and exoduses of Jews, deportin ...
. These include Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Romania.
Armenian genocide denial Armenian Genocide denial is the claim that the Ottoman Empire and its ruling party, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), did not Armenian Genocide, commit genocide against Ottoman Armenians, its Armenian citizens during World War I— ...
is also illegal in some countries. In some countries,
blasphemy Blasphemy is an insult that shows contempt, disrespect, or lack of reverence concerning a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male de ...
is a crime. For example, in Austria, defaming
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
, the prophet of Islam, is not protected as free speech. In contrast, in France, blasphemy and disparagement of Muhammad are protected under free speech law. Certain public institutions may also enact policies restricting the freedom of speech, for example
speech code A speech code is any rule or regulation that limits, restricts, or bans speech beyond the strict legal limitations upon freedom of speech in London, 1974 Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a communi ...
s at state-operated schools. In the U.S., the standing landmark opinion on political speech is '' Brandenburg v. Ohio'' (1969), expressly overruling ''
Whitney v. California ''Whitney v. California'', 274 U.S. 357 (1927), was a United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of Amer ...
''. In ''Brandenburg'', the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
referred to the right even to speak openly of violent action and revolution in broad terms: The opinion in ''Brandenburg'' discarded the previous test of "clear and present danger" and made the right to freedom of (political) speech protections in the United States almost absolute. Hate speech is also protected by the First Amendment in the United States, as decided in '' R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul'', (1992) in which the Supreme Court ruled that hate speech is permissible, except in the case of imminent violence. See the
First Amendment to the United States Constitution The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally compris ...
for more detailed information on this decision and its historical background.


Time, place, and manner

Limitations based on time, place, and manner apply to all speech, regardless of the view expressed. They are generally restrictions that are intended to balance other rights or a legitimate
government interest Government or state interest is a concept in law that allows the State (polity), state to regulate a given matter. The concept may apply differently in different countries, and the limitations of what should and should not be of government interest ...
. For example, a time, place, and manner restriction might prohibit a noisy
political demonstration , 2015: protesters demonstrate against the city's new drastic plans for the Slussen area and interchange A demonstration is an action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political Politics (from , ) is th ...
at a politician's home during the middle of the night, as that impinges upon the rights of the politician's neighbors to quiet enjoyment of their own homes. An otherwise identical activity might be permitted if it happened at a different time (e.g., during the day), at a different place (e.g., at a government building or in another public forum), or in a different manner (e.g., a
silent protestSilent protest is an organized effort where the participants stay quiet to demonstrate disapproval. It is used as a form of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance 250px, A "No NATO" protester in Chicago, 2012 Nonviolent resistance (NVR), or ...
).


The Internet and information society

Jo Glanville, editor of the ''Index on Censorship'', states that "the Internet has been a revolution for
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
as much as for free speech". International, national and regional standards recognise that freedom of speech, as one form of freedom of expression, applies to any medium, including the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was the first major attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornography, pornographic material on the Internet. In 1997, in the landmark cyberlaw case of ''Reno v. ACLU'', the United States Supreme Court, US Supreme Court partially overturned the law. Judge Stewart R. Dalzell, one of the three federal judges who in June 1996 declared parts of the CDA unconstitutional, in his opinion stated the following: The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003 makes specific reference to the importance of the right to freedom of expression for the "Information society, Information Society" in stating: According to Bernt Hugenholtz and Lucie Guibault, the public domain is under pressure from the "commodification of information" as information with previously little or no economic value has acquired independent economic value in the information age. This includes factual data, personal data, genetic information and pure ideas. The commodification of information is taking place through
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
law, contract law, as well as broadcasting and telecommunications law.


Freedom of information

Freedom of information is an extension of freedom of speech where the medium of expression is the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. Freedom of information may also refer to the
right to privacy The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and ...
in the context of the Internet and information technology. As with the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy is a recognised human right and freedom of information acts as an extension to this right. Freedom of information may also concern
censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments ...

censorship
in an information technology context, i.e. the ability to access Web content, without censorship or restrictions. Freedom of information is also explicitly protected by acts such as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of Ontario, in Canada. The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and any person or corporation present in Canada a right to access records of government institutions that are subject to the Act.


Internet censorship

The concept of freedom of information has emerged in response to state sponsored censorship, monitoring and surveillance of the internet. Internet censorship includes the control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. The Global Internet Freedom Consortium claims to remove blocks to the "free flow of information" for what they term "closed societies." According to the Reporters without Borders (RWB) "internet enemy list" the following states engage in pervasive internet censorship: China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. A widely publicized example of internet censorship is the "Great Firewall of China" (in reference both to its role as a firewall (networking), network firewall and to the ancient Great Wall of China). The system blocks content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through and consists of standard firewall and proxy servers at the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
gateway (telecommunications), gateways. The system also selectively engages in DNS poisoning when particular sites are requested. The government does not appear to be systematically examining Internet content, as this appears to be technically impractical. Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations, including more than sixty regulations directed at the Internet. Censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned Internet service provider, ISPs, business companies, and organizations.


Challenge of disinformation

Some legal scholars (such as Tim Wu of Columbia University) have argued that the traditional issues of free speech—that "the main threat to free speech" is the censorship of "suppressive states," and that "ill-informed or malevolent speech" can and should be overcome by "more and better speech" rather than censorship—assumes a scarcity of information. This scarcity prevailed during the 20th century, but with the arrival of the internet, information became plentiful, "but the attention of listeners" scarce. And in the words of Wu, this "cheap speech" made possible by the internet " ... may be used to attack, harass, and silence as much as it is used to illuminate or debate." In the 21st century, the danger is not "suppressive states" that target "speakers directly", but that


History of dissent and truth

Before the invention of the printing press, a written work, once created, could only be physically multiplied by highly laborious and error-prone manual copying. No elaborate system of censorship and control over scribes existed, who until the 14th century were restricted to religious institutions, and their works rarely caused wider controversy. In response to the printing press, and the theological heresies it allowed to spread, the Roman Catholic Church moved to impose censorship. Printing allowed for multiple exact copies of a work, leading to a more rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information (see print culture). The origins of copyright law in most European countries lie in efforts by the Roman Catholic Church and governments to regulate and control the output of printers. In 1501 Pope Alexander VI issued a Bill against the unlicensed printing of books. In 1559 Pope Paul IV promulgated the ''Index Expurgatorius'', or ''List of Prohibited Books''. The ''Index Expurgatorius'' is the most famous and long lasting example of "bad books" catalogues issued by the Roman Catholic Church, which presumed to be in authority over private thoughts and opinions, and suppressed views that went against its doctrines. The ''Index Expurgatorius'' was administered by the Roman Inquisition, but enforced by local government authorities, and went through 300 editions. Amongst others, it banned or censored books written by René Descartes, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, David Hume, John Locke, Daniel Defoe, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire. While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways because it allowed for the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could also circulate rapidly. As a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books. The notion that the expression of dissent or subversive views should be tolerated, not censured or punished by law, developed alongside the rise of printing and the News media, press. ''Areopagitica'', published in 1644, was
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
's response to the Parliament of England, Parliament of England's re-introduction of government licensing of printers, hence publishers. Church authorities had previously ensured that Milton's Milton's divorce tracts, essay on the right to divorce was refused a license for publication. In ''Areopagitica'', published without a license, Milton made an impassioned plea for freedom of expression and toleration of falsehood, stating: Milton's defense of freedom of expression was grounded in a Protestantism, Protestant worldview, and he thought that the English people had the mission to work out the truth of the Protestant Reformation, Reformation, which would lead to the Age of Enlightenment, enlightenment of all people. But Milton also articulated the main strands of future discussions about freedom of expression. By defining the scope of freedom of expression and of "harmful" speech Milton argued against the principle of pre-censorship and in favor of tolerance for a wide range of views. Freedom of the press ceased being regulated in England in 1695 when the Licensing Order of 1643 was allowed to expire after the introduction of the
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a , namely, the , the ...
shortly after the Glorious Revolution. The emergence of publications like the ''Tatler (1709), Tatler'' (1709) and the ''The Spectator (1711), Spectator'' (1711) are given credit for creating a 'bourgeois public sphere' in England that allowed for a free exchange of ideas and information. As the "menace" of printing spread, more governments attempted to centralize control. The French crown repressed printing and the printer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake in 1546. In 1557 the British Crown thought to stem the flow of seditious and heretical books by chartering the Stationers' Company. The right to print was limited to the members of that guild, and thirty years later the Star Chamber was chartered to curtail the "greate enormities and abuses" of "dyvers contentyous and disorderlye persons professinge the arte or mystere of pryntinge or selling of books." The right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had 53 printing presses. As the British crown took control of type founding in 1637 printers fled to the Netherlands. Confrontation with authority made printers radical and rebellious, with 800 authors, printers and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille in Paris before it was Storming of the Bastille, stormed in 1789. A succession of English thinkers was at the forefront of early discussion on a right to freedom of expression, among them
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
(1608–74) and John Locke (1632–1704). Locke established the individual as the unit of value and the bearer of rights to right to life, life, right to liberty, liberty, right to property, property and the pursuit of happiness. However Locke's ideas evolved primarily around the concept of the right to seek salvation for one's soul, and was thus primarily concerned with theological matters. Locke neither supported a universal toleration of peoples nor freedom of speech; according to his ideas, some groups, such as atheists, should not be allowed. By the second half of the 17th century philosophers on the European continent like Baruch Spinoza and Pierre Bayle developed ideas encompassing a more universal aspect freedom of speech and toleration than the early English philosophers. By the 18th century the idea of freedom of speech was being discussed by thinkers all over the Western world, especially by French philosophes like Denis Diderot, Baron d'Holbach and Claude Adrien Helvétius. The idea began to be incorporated in political theory both in theory as well as practice; the first state edict in history proclaiming complete freedom of speech was the one issued 4 December 1770 in Denmark-Norway during the regency of Johann Friedrich Struensee. However Struensee himself imposed some minor limitations to this edict on 7 October 1771, and it was even further limited after the fall of Struensee with legislation introduced in 1773, although censorship was not reintroduced.
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
(1806–1873) argued that without human freedom there can be no progress in science, law or politics, which according to Mill required free discussion of opinion. Mill's ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'', published in 1859 became a classic defence of the right to freedom of expression. Mill argued that truth drives out falsity, therefore the free expression of ideas, true or false, should not be feared. Truth is not stable or fixed, but evolves with time. Mill argued that much of what we once considered true has turned out false. Therefore, views should not be prohibited for their apparent falsity. Mill also argued that free discussion is necessary to prevent the "deep slumber of a decided opinion". Discussion would drive the onwards march of truth and by considering false views the basis of true views could be re-affirmed. Furthermore, Mill argued that an opinion only carries intrinsic value to the owner of that opinion, thus silencing the expression of that opinion is an injustice to a basic human right. For Mill, the only instance in which speech can be justifiably suppressed is in order to prevent harm from a clear and direct threat. Neither economic or moral implications, nor the speakers own well-being would justify suppression of speech. In her 1906 biography of Voltaire, Evelyn Beatrice Hall coined the following sentence to illustrate Voltaire's beliefs: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Hall's quote is frequently cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech. Noam Chomsky stated, "If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Dictators such as Joseph Stalin, Stalin and Adolf Hitler, Hitler, were in favor of freedom of speech for views they liked only. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise." Lee Bollinger argues that "the free speech principle involves a special act of carving out one area of social interaction for extraordinary self-restraint, the purpose of which is to develop and demonstrate a social capacity to control feelings evoked by a host of social encounters." Bollinger argues that Toleration, tolerance is a desirable value, if not essential. However, critics argue that society should be concerned by those who directly deny or advocate, for example, genocide (see limitations above). As chairman of the London-based PEN International, a club which defends freedom of expression and a free press, English author H. G. Wells met with Stalin in 1934 and was hopeful of reform in the Soviet Union. However, during their meeting in Moscow Wells said, "the free expression of opinion—even of opposition opinion, I do not know if you are prepared yet for that much freedom here." The 1928 novel ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' by D. H. Lawrence was banned for
obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the pl ...
in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and India. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was the subject of landmark court rulings which saw the ban for obscenity overturned. Dominic Sandbrook of ''The Daily Telegraph, The Telegraph'' in the UK wrote, "Now that public obscenity has become commonplace, it is hard to recapture the atmosphere of a society that saw fit to ban books such as ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' because it was likely to 'deprave and corrupt' its readers." Fred Kaplan (journalist), Fred Kaplan of ''The New York Times'' stated the overturning of the obscenity laws "set off an explosion of free speech" in the U.S. The 1960s also saw the Free Speech Movement, a massive long-lasting student protest on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley during the 1964–65 academic year. In contrast to Anglophone nations, France was a haven for literary freedom. The innate French regard for the mind meant that France was disinclined to punish literary figures for their writing, and prosecutions were rare. While it was prohibited everywhere else, James Joyce’s ''Ulysses (novel), Ulysses'' was published in Paris in 1922. Henry Miller’s 1934 novel ''Tropic of Cancer (novel), Tropic of Cancer'' (banned in the U.S. until 1963) and Lawrence’s ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' were published in France decades before they were available in the respective authors' home countries. In 1964 comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested in the U.S. due to complaints again pertaining to his use of various obscenities. A three-judge panel presided over his widely publicized six-month trial in which he was found guilty of obscenity in November 1964. He was sentenced on 21 December 1964, to four months in a workhouse. He was set free on bail during the appeals process and died before the appeal was decided. On 23 December 2003, thirty-seven years after Bruce's death, Governor of New York, New York Governor George Pataki granted him a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction. In the United States, the right to freedom of expression has been interpreted to include the right to take and publish photographs of strangers in public areas without their permission or knowledge. This is not the case worldwide.


Offences

In some countries, people are not allowed to talk about certain things. Doing so constitutes an offence. For example, Saudi Arabia is responsible for executing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. As he entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey, a team of Saudi assassins killed him. Another Saudi writer, Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and lashed.


Freedom of speech on college campuses

In July 2014, the University of Chicago released the "Chicago principles, Chicago Statement," a free speech policy statement designed to combat censorship on campus. This statement was later adopted by a number of top-ranked universities including Princeton University, Washington University in St. Louis, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. Commentators such as ''Vox (website), Voxs Zack Beauchamp and Chris Quintana, writing in ''The Chronicle of Higher Education'', have disputed the assumption that college campuses are facing a "free-speech crisis."


See also

* Academic freedom * Artistic freedom * The Confessionals * Cancel culture * Child pornography * Digital rights * Election silence * Everybody Draw Mohammed Day * Forced or compelled speech * Freedom of thought * Global Network Initiative * Hate speech * Heckler's veto * IFEX (organization) * Illegal number * Je suis Charlie * Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy * Jamal Khashoggi * Legality of Holocaust denial * Post–World War II legality of Nazi flags ** Strafgesetzbuch section 86a ** Verbotsgesetz 1947 * Bans on communist symbols * Lolicon/Shotacon ** Legal status of drawn pornography depicting minors ** Simulated child pornography * Market for loyalties theory * Media transparency * No Platform * Open court principle * Paradox of tolerance * Parrhesia * Photography Is Not a Crime * Pirate Party * Political correctness * Rights * Safety of journalists * ''Stanley v. Georgia'' * Symbolic speech * Victimless crime * Glasnost


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * Shaw, Caroline. "Freedom of expression and the palladium of British liberties, 1650–2000: A review essay" ''History Compass'' (Oct 2020
online


External links


Article19.org
Global Campaign for Free Expression.
Free Speech Debate
a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.
Index on Censorship
an international organisation that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.
Media Freedom Navigator: Media Freedom Indices at a Glance
Deutsche Welle Akademie.

Organization of American States. {{DEFAULTSORT:Freedom Of Speech Freedom of speech, Censorship Freedom of expression, Speech