The Freedom of speech portal

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

Freedom of speech 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 right to freedom of expression has been recognised as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law by the United Nations. Many countries have constitutional law that protects free speech. Terms like free speech, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression are used interchangeably in political discourse. However, in a 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 "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals". (Full article...)

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Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment is a non-fiction book by Anthony Lewis about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of thought and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The book begins by quoting the relevant portion of the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech or of the press...", and traces the evolution of civil liberties in the United States through key historical events. Lewis provides an overview of important free speech case law including Supreme Court of the United States opinions in Schenck v. United States (1919), Whitney v. California (1927), United States v. Schwimmer (1929), New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), and New York Times Co. v. United States (1971). The title of the book is drawn from the dissenting opinion by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in United States v. Schwimmer, "If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate." Lewis warns the reader against the potential for government to utilize periods of fear and upheaval in society in order to suppress criticism and freedom of speech by members of the citizenry.

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Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia (1936 - 2016) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the second most senior Associate Justice, following Justice John Paul Stevens. In 1982, he was appointed as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Ronald Reagan. In 1986, Judge Scalia was appointed by Reagan to the Supreme Court to fill the seat as associate justice vacated when Justice William Rehnquist was elevated to Chief Justice. While Rehnquist's confirmation was contentious, Scalia was asked few difficult questions by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and faced no opposition. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and took the bench on September 26, 1986. In his near quarter-century on the Court, Justice Scalia staked out a conservative ideology in his opinions, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposed affirmative action and other policies that treat minorities as groups. He filed separate opinions in large numbers of cases, and, in his minority opinions, often castigated the Court's majority in scathing language. (more...)

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“ Effective self-government cannot succeed unless the people are immersed in a steady, robust, unimpeded, and uncensored flow of opinion and reporting which are continuously subjected to critique, rebuttal, and reexamination. ” — William O. Douglas, (Branzburg v. Hayes, 1972)

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  • Sample 09-F9 protest art, Free Speech Flag by John Marcotte
    Sample 09-F9 protest art, Free Speech Flag by John Marcotte
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