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."

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 (ordre public), or of public health or morals". (Full article...)

Selected article

Odex's head office at International Plaza, where the out-of-court settlements to the company by alleged illegal downloaders were made.
Odex's actions against file sharing were legal actions against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and their subscribers in Singapore by Odex, a Singapore-based company that virtually distributes sub-licensed Japanese anime. From early 2007 to January 2008 Odex took action against anyone who had downloaded anime through BitTorrent for alleged copyright infringement. Odex tracked their IP addresses without their consent and sought subpoenas to compel the ISPs to disclose the personal details of these subscribers. After rulings from the Subordinate Courts, Odex took personal data from affected ISPs and sent letters demanding payment in place of litigation. More than a third of the individuals contacted by Odex opted to settle out of court for at least S$3,000 (US$2,000) to S$5,000 (US$4,000) each. The Singaporean anime community considered Odex's actions to be controversial, sudden, and heavy-handed—especially when it was discovered that the youngest person threatened was nine years old. In response, Odex dropped its pay-or-be-sued letter approach in favor of cease-and-desist emails to downloaders. Odex halted active enforcement after its third subpoena was rejected by the courts and lost a lawsuit when trying to obtain customer data from another ISP. In January 2008, Odex appealed the decision, and the High Court of Singapore ruled that one ISP was required to release data, but only directly to Japanese anime studios. Subsequently, these studios started their own legal actions against Singaporean downloaders. Some observers predicted that the High Court's decision would set a precedent for online privacy in Singapore by making it more difficult for copyright licensees to take legal action against downloading. The case raised issues of individual privacy, intellectual property, and free use of the Internet. Odex's actions attracted widespread criticism in Singapore and international attention and press coverage, which coincided with similar actions against consumer file sharing of music in the United States.

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The following are images from various freedom of speech-related articles on Wikipedia.


Selected biography

Learned Hand
Learned Hand (1872–1961) was an influential United States judge and judicial philosopher. He served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Hand has reportedly been quoted more often than any other lower-court judge by legal scholars and by the Supreme Court of the United States. Born and raised in Albany, New York, Hand majored in philosophy at Harvard College and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. After a short career as a lawyer in Albany and New York City, he was appointed as a Federal District Judge in Manhattan in 1909 at the age of 37. The profession suited his detached and open-minded temperament, and his decisions soon won him a reputation for craftsmanship and authority. He ran unsuccessfully as the Progressive Party's candidate for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals in 1913, but withdrew from active politics shortly afterwards. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge promoted Hand to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which he went on to lead as the Senior Circuit Judge (later retitled Chief Judge) from 1939 until his semi-retirement in 1951. Friends and admirers often lobbied for Hand's promotion to the Supreme Court, but circumstances and his political past conspired against his appointment. Hand possessed a gift for language, and his writings are admired as legal literature.

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William Kunstler and Gregory Lee Johnson

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“ First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought. ” — Anthony Kennedy, (Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 2002)

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