The right to freedom of expression is one of the essential attributes of a democratic society, linked to transparency in government, public participation in decision-making, and each person’s individual self-determination. This paper analyzes the key provisions of human rights instruments that concern the right to freedom of expression. The paper also evaluates the scope of freedom of expression rights by considering U.N. studies and reports and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The paper concludes that the law cannot fully resolve the tensions between the free exercise of expression and the protection of other’s rights, but the legal guarantees and limitations contained in human rights instruments are necessary to impose restraints that individuals are unwilling to impose on themselves.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-49; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-49
Dinah Shelton, Balancing Rights and responsibilities: Human Rights Jurisprudence on Regulating the Content of Speech, in HUMAN RIGHTS: LIMITATIONS AND PROLIFERATION 211 (Peter Wahlgren ed., 55 Scandinavian Studies in Law 2010).