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FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Freedom of expression is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term freedom of expression is usually used synonymously but, in legal sense, includes any activity of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 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 "for respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "for the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or 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, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, dignity, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury.

Publications 2021:

International Report on Internet Censorship

International Focus Programme on Law and Technology

Final Report of the International Legal Research Group on Internet Censorship (eds)

ISBN: 978-94-6240-645-2 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-94-6240-646-9 (e-version)

2 volumes total 1330 pages

Published: 1st of January

Editor in Chief: Sarah Ikast Kristoffersen
Deputy Editor in Chief: Nikola Ćirić
Director for Legal Writing: Fani Dimoska
International Linguistic Editor: Vanya Rakesh
International Technical Editor: Oļegs Sedjakins

The international report on Internet Censorship provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of regulation of freedom of expression online across 24 different European jurisdictions. The report discusses the concept of censorship and its boundaries with the right to information. The report explores regulation of blocking and takedown of internet content, particularly whether specific legislation on the issue exists and if the area is self-regulated in each country. Furthermore, the report includes analyses of the right to be forgotten in each of the participating countries and finally the regulation of the liability of internet intermediaries. Each analysis looks into both existing regulations and policy papers as well as any cases that may exist on the topic.
In addition to the analyses, the report assesses how the legislation regarding blocking and takedown of online content, liability of internet intermediaries and the right to be forgotten will develop in each country over the coming fiveyear period. Finally, the report assesses balancing issues in terms of reaching a balance between allowing freedom of expression online and protecting against online hate speech as well as protecting other rights online.

The report is an excellent tool for students, academics and practitioners who wish to gain an overview of European policies, regulation and case law regarding freedom of expression online. Furthermore, the report serves as a great starting point for further research as it contains tables with translation of relevant legislation, literature and jurisprudence.

International Focus Programme on Law and Technology
Final Report of the International Legal Research Group on Internet Censorship (eds)
ISBN: 978-94-6240-645-2 (paperback 2 volumes)


Comparative Report on Internet Censorship

International Focus Programme on Law and Technology
Concluding Report of the International Legal Research Group
on Internet Censorship (eds)


The comparative report on Internet Censorship provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of regulation of freedom of expression online across 24 different European jurisdictions. The concluding report discusses the concept of censorship and its boundaries with the right to information. The report explores regulation of blocking and takedown of internet content, particularly whether specific legislation on the issue exists and if the area is self-regulated in each country. Furthermore, the report includes analyses of the right to be forgotten in each of the participating countries and finally the regulation of the liability of internet intermediaries. Each analysis looks into both existing regulations and policy papers as well as any cases that may exist on the topic.
In addition to the analyses, the report assesses how the legislation regarding blocking and takedown of online content, liability of internet intermediaries and the right to be forgotten will develop in each country over the coming five-year period. Finally, the report assesses balancing issues in terms of reaching a balance between allowing freedom of expression online and protecting against online hate speech as well as protecting other rights online.
The report is an excellent tool for students, academics and practitioners who wish to gain an overview of European policies, regulation and case law regarding freedom of expression online. Furthermore, the report serves as a great starting point for further research as it contains tables with translation of relevant legislation, literature and jurisprudence.

International Focus Programme on Law and Technology
Concluding Report of the International Legal Research Group on Internet Censorship (eds)
ISBN: 978-94-6240-700-8 (paperback)


Publications:

Freedom of Expression


Essays in honour of Nicolas Bratza, President of the European Court of Human Rights
ISBN (hardcover) : 9789058508836
ISBN (softcover) : 9789058508683

Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of all democratic systems.  Without it ideas about how to protect the common good in our societies would be impoverished.  A marketplace of ideas is essential for democracy to thrive.  It is for this reason that the European Court of Human Rights attaches such importance to political discourse as well as to speech and other forms of expression that may shock and offend.  Yet such freedom may clash with other rights such as the right to privacy, the right to a good reputation.  It may even conflict with the need to protect public order or morals.  Societies require pluralism if they are to grow yet democracy also seeks to limit extreme forms of speech that preach hate and advocate violence.  But are such restrictions on free speech legitimate and by what criteria are we to judge their necessity?

We rely on journalists to report accurately the controversies of the day and protect their right not to reveal sources.  They also enjoy a broad right of fair comment. But we expect them to be responsible in their factual reporting, to check their sources and to have regard to the need to observe some degree of restraint when reporting or commenting on matters that affect the rights of others.  But is it legitimate to interfere with reporting that is in the public interest and how can the law promote responsible journalism?

This collection of essays on freedom of expression contains contributions by distinguished judges and lawyers from many varied backgrounds that explore these themes with a critical eye.  The book seeks to honour Sir Nicolas Bratza, President of the European Court of Human Rights, for his outstanding contribution, as a jurist and leading judicial figure, to the protection of human rights in Europe.  


The Legal Inclusion of Extremist Speech

Quoc Loc Hong
ISBN (hardcover) : 9789058501622

The freedom of speech belongs to the classical human rights. However, are people who undermine human rights, and want to destroy democracy also entitled to the right of freedom of speech? This is the main question Q.L. Hong addresses in his PhD. thesis.At the end of July 2001, only six months before the attacks on the Twin Towers, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg reviewed the conflict between Turkey and the Refah Partisi. According to the Turkish government the goal of this political party is to destroy the Turkish democracy and to reinstate an Islamic theocracy instead. This being a reason for the Turkish government to disband the Refah Partisi. However is this not in violation with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which among others guarantees the freedom of speech and association? The judges of the European Court found that this was not the case: the ban on this party was just.

The PhD. thesis of Quoc Loc Hong goes more deeply into the meaning of this case: can a democracy protect itself with repressive legislation against ‘enemies’, who use the freedom of speech to destroy this form of government, without violating the principle from which democracy itself derives her legitimacy? When this question is answered positively, another problem emerges. It must be prevented that the fight for democracy against the specific danger of anti-democratic expression will degenerate in a general restriction on the freedom of speech itself.

The question is, if a democratic justification can be found for the strict control to which the judiciary subjects this legislation. The theme of Hong’s thesis touches a highly current topic: the freedom of speech, which in the Netherlands too is currently at issue. Moreover this thesis discusses how democracy and the administration of justice should react, such as the sanctioning of the apologia, and the glorification of terrorist acts. lands too is currently at issue.

Dr. Quoc Loc Hong (1970, Tuy Hoa,Vietnam) studied Dutch Law at the University of Tilburg. He graduated in constitutional and administrative law with his thesis ‘Freedom in an untitled legal order’. Since his graduation in 1996 he has been working as PhD. student at the same university at the department of philosophy of law. Between January 2002 and September 2003 he worked as a senior clerk of the court at the chamber for aliens at the court of law in Alkmaar.







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