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What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

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Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

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What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

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Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Over the past decade, there has been a global decline in respect for freedom of expression. And Europes democracies traditionally understood to be places in which these rights are both honored and protected have not been immune.

According to Reporters Without Borderss Press Freedom Index, which measures trends in media freedom at both the global and regional levels, all but two European Union-member states (plus Iceland and Norway) have a lower press freedom score in 2016 than they did in 2013. In some cases, there has been marked backsliding: Germany went from a score of 10.24 in 2013 to 14.8 in 2016 (the lower the score, the more respect for press freedom); the United Kingdom has gone from 16.89 to 21.7; and Poland is among the worst cases, jumping from a respectable 13.11 to a deeply worrying 23.89. These scores reflect changes in important indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, and rule of law, among others.

Freedom of expression has always been unevenly protected in Europe. This is because of a philosophical divide that cuts across the continent: Some European countries can be classified as militant democracies. In these countries, the state limits freedom of speech and association when it is deemed to threaten other values outlined in the constitution, such as democracy and the freedom of others. Germany, which regularly bans or has banned various Communist, National Socialist, and Islamist organizations, is a classic example.France, which prohibits Holocaust denial, shuts down mosques it deems too radical and aggressively enforces laws against hate speech and glorification of terrorism, also falls mainly into this camp.

While there are historical justifications for some of these policies, they raise important questions and produce awkward results. Why is it impermissible to deny the Holocaust but permissible to deny the Armenian genocide? Or the evils of the slave trade and colonialism for that matter? What is the metric used for determining whether something is hate speech, or just permissible criticism? Increasingly, laws against hatred and offense have come to target controversial but non-violent speech including that of comedians, politicians critical of immigration, as well as Muslims vocally opposed to Western foreign policy. Moreover, there seems to be little evidence suggesting that suppressing speech leads to higher levels of tolerance in liberal democracies. A new report from Germanys domestic intelligence agencyshows not only that there were 500 more extreme-right entities in 2015 than in 2014, but also that there has been a 42 percent increase in violent acts by right-wing extremists over that same period. American NGO Human Rights First also documented a doubling of anti-Semitic hate crimes in France from 2014-2015. A recent report by two Norwegian researchers suggests that an environment where controversial expressions are filtered out may increase the risk of extremist violence.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom the liberal democracies that have traditionally been more tolerant of intolerance (though no European state offers as robust a protection of free speech as the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution). Lately, however, it seems that even these states are edging closer toward a militant democracy-style approach.

This past spring, a majority in the Danish Parliament broke with 70 years of tolerating most instances of extreme expressions to enact a law that will criminalize religious teaching that explicitly condones certain crimes such as murder, violence, and even polygamy. Under the law, an imam or priest who explicitly condones the spanking of children or polygamy as part of his or her religious teaching would face up to three years in prison, whereas a politician or ordinary citizen condoning such practices would be free to do so. The law also bars religious preachers who have expressed anti-democratic views from entering the country.

Denmark has been a bastion of free speech protections in Europe, including, at times, from groups that have advocated for totalitarian ideologies, both secular and religious. During the Cold War, the Danish Communist Party held seats in Parliament and freely published pro-Kremlin propaganda. Nazis were also allowed to regroup and advocate their supremacist ideas despite the Nazi occupation of Denmark from 1940-45. Notwithstanding this permissive environment, neither Nazism nor Communism has managed to seriously establish themselves in Denmark. Despite worrying levels of radicalization among some Danish Muslims, Denmark is hardly poised to become a caliphate anytime soon. And yet there are signs that the land that fiercely stood up for the right of its newspapers to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has begun shifting away from this commitment to free expression. On Constitution Day in early June, Danish Justice Minister Sren Pind who once called himself the Freedom Minister because of his determination to spread liberty to developing countries in the global south announced his intention to criminalize the grossly negligent sharing of extremist material online. If the law is enacted, linking to online magazines such as the Islamic States Dabiq would mean jail time.

Denmarks efforts have been inspired by various counterextremist measures that the historically tolerant U.K. has taken over the past decade. In a speech in May, for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intentions to pursue a law that will, according to the Guardian, allow the government the ability to ban non-violent extremist organizations, gag individuals and empower local councils to close premises used to promote hatred. The government has previously defined extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This definition is vast and sweeping: It would essentially label anyone opposed to liberal democracy as an extremist.

The movement toward a more German approach to free speech, one that silences the perceived enemies of an open society, has not only taken root at the national level but is increasingly the guiding philosophy of European institutions. The final limits on free speech in Europe are ultimately determined by the European Court of Human Rights, which is under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. The court can pass legally binding judgments against member states. In a number of cases, the court has determined that member states may ban extremist religious and political organizations (such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement committed to the nonviolent establishment of a global caliphate) and prohibit mere glorification of terrorism. The court views hate speech, including Holocaust denial, as an abuse of convention rights and therefore allows it no legal free speech protections. This sets a relatively low bar for the protection of controversial speech across 47 European states and leaves wiggle room for states eager to exploit such openings to further expand the permissible limits on expression.

EU law, which has primacy over national law, is increasingly developing new limitations on speech that apply to all member states. The Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, adopted in 2008, obliges EU states to criminalize hate speech, albeit not in a uniform manner. Lately, the European Commission has signaled that it wants to see the Framework Decision enforced more vigorously. In a speech on Oct. 2, 2015, EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Vera Jourova said that member states must firmly and immediately investigate and prosecute racist hatred. She added, I find it disgraceful that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in only 13 member states. The commission has even suggested that legal proceedings could be brought against member states that have not fully transposed the Framework Decision that is, the commission is considering bringing member states before the European Court of Justice for offering freedom of expression protection that is too strong.

But the most serious blow to freedom of expression in Europe may be the recently signed Code of Conduct (COC) between the European Commission and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube. Under the COC, these tech giants have agreed to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary. What constitutes illegal hate speech is not clear. The COC refers to the Framework Decision and national laws. However, the Framework Decisions definition of what constitutes incitement to hatred is far from clear, and national hate speech laws vary widely. While 13 countries ban Holocaust denial, many others do not. In Sweden, an artist was imprisoned for six months for racist and offensive posters exhibited in an art museum; the same posters were freely exhibited in Denmark. Should Facebook remove all content that may constitute Holocaust denial, or only when uploaded in, say, Germany or France? Should an internet meme based on the offensive Swedish posters be guided by Danish or Swedish standards? This uncertainty may force companies to err on the side of caution and adopt a bias toward preventive censorship.

The COC essentially privatizes internet censorship with none of the accountability, publicity, and legal safeguards that follow from proper legal procedures. Since social media has become essential for traditional media to reach a wide audience, the COC could cause a ripple effect of self-censorship on the part of outlets that fear their content could be removed from social media platforms for being hate speech. The COC will not only affect freedom of expression in the EU, but also the EUs ability to campaign credibly for freedom of expression and internet freedom in countries where censorship is the norm. After all, why should the Putins and Xi Jipings of the world take lessons on internet freedom from an organization that imposes nebulous limits on the internet?

Democratic Europe still remains a bastion of free speech compared with most other places in the world. But the closing of the European mind, by prohibiting expressions that agitate against Europes fundamental values, moves these democracies uncomfortably close to practices that the EU is supposed to guard against. This trend bears an uncanny (albeit imperfect) resemblance to the infamous Section 106 of the East German penal code, which criminalized anti-state propaganda, including agitation against the constitutional basis of the socialist state and social order of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and glorification of fascism and militarism. Europe should make sure that such rot does not take hold in its democratic foundation, which cannot hold firm without a robust protection of free speech.

Photo credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

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Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

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Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

See more here:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Over the past decade, there has been a global decline in respect for freedom of expression. And Europes democracies traditionally understood to be places in which these rights are both honored and protected have not been immune.

According to Reporters Without Borderss Press Freedom Index, which measures trends in media freedom at both the global and regional levels, all but two European Union-member states (plus Iceland and Norway) have a lower press freedom score in 2016 than they did in 2013. In some cases, there has been marked backsliding: Germany went from a score of 10.24 in 2013 to 14.8 in 2016 (the lower the score, the more respect for press freedom); the United Kingdom has gone from 16.89 to 21.7; and Poland is among the worst cases, jumping from a respectable 13.11 to a deeply worrying 23.89. These scores reflect changes in important indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, and rule of law, among others.

Freedom of expression has always been unevenly protected in Europe. This is because of a philosophical divide that cuts across the continent: Some European countries can be classified as militant democracies. In these countries, the state limits freedom of speech and association when it is deemed to threaten other values outlined in the constitution, such as democracy and the freedom of others. Germany, which regularly bans or has banned various Communist, National Socialist, and Islamist organizations, is a classic example.France, which prohibits Holocaust denial, shuts down mosques it deems too radical and aggressively enforces laws against hate speech and glorification of terrorism, also falls mainly into this camp.

While there are historical justifications for some of these policies, they raise important questions and produce awkward results. Why is it impermissible to deny the Holocaust but permissible to deny the Armenian genocide? Or the evils of the slave trade and colonialism for that matter? What is the metric used for determining whether something is hate speech, or just permissible criticism? Increasingly, laws against hatred and offense have come to target controversial but non-violent speech including that of comedians, politicians critical of immigration, as well as Muslims vocally opposed to Western foreign policy. Moreover, there seems to be little evidence suggesting that suppressing speech leads to higher levels of tolerance in liberal democracies. A new report from Germanys domestic intelligence agencyshows not only that there were 500 more extreme-right entities in 2015 than in 2014, but also that there has been a 42 percent increase in violent acts by right-wing extremists over that same period. American NGO Human Rights First also documented a doubling of anti-Semitic hate crimes in France from 2014-2015. A recent report by two Norwegian researchers suggests that an environment where controversial expressions are filtered out may increase the risk of extremist violence.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom the liberal democracies that have traditionally been more tolerant of intolerance (though no European state offers as robust a protection of free speech as the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution). Lately, however, it seems that even these states are edging closer toward a militant democracy-style approach.

This past spring, a majority in the Danish Parliament broke with 70 years of tolerating most instances of extreme expressions to enact a law that will criminalize religious teaching that explicitly condones certain crimes such as murder, violence, and even polygamy. Under the law, an imam or priest who explicitly condones the spanking of children or polygamy as part of his or her religious teaching would face up to three years in prison, whereas a politician or ordinary citizen condoning such practices would be free to do so. The law also bars religious preachers who have expressed anti-democratic views from entering the country.

Denmark has been a bastion of free speech protections in Europe, including, at times, from groups that have advocated for totalitarian ideologies, both secular and religious. During the Cold War, the Danish Communist Party held seats in Parliament and freely published pro-Kremlin propaganda. Nazis were also allowed to regroup and advocate their supremacist ideas despite the Nazi occupation of Denmark from 1940-45. Notwithstanding this permissive environment, neither Nazism nor Communism has managed to seriously establish themselves in Denmark. Despite worrying levels of radicalization among some Danish Muslims, Denmark is hardly poised to become a caliphate anytime soon. And yet there are signs that the land that fiercely stood up for the right of its newspapers to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has begun shifting away from this commitment to free expression. On Constitution Day in early June, Danish Justice Minister Sren Pind who once called himself the Freedom Minister because of his determination to spread liberty to developing countries in the global south announced his intention to criminalize the grossly negligent sharing of extremist material online. If the law is enacted, linking to online magazines such as the Islamic States Dabiq would mean jail time.

Denmarks efforts have been inspired by various counterextremist measures that the historically tolerant U.K. has taken over the past decade. In a speech in May, for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intentions to pursue a law that will, according to the Guardian, allow the government the ability to ban non-violent extremist organizations, gag individuals and empower local councils to close premises used to promote hatred. The government has previously defined extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This definition is vast and sweeping: It would essentially label anyone opposed to liberal democracy as an extremist.

The movement toward a more German approach to free speech, one that silences the perceived enemies of an open society, has not only taken root at the national level but is increasingly the guiding philosophy of European institutions. The final limits on free speech in Europe are ultimately determined by the European Court of Human Rights, which is under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. The court can pass legally binding judgments against member states. In a number of cases, the court has determined that member states may ban extremist religious and political organizations (such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement committed to the nonviolent establishment of a global caliphate) and prohibit mere glorification of terrorism. The court views hate speech, including Holocaust denial, as an abuse of convention rights and therefore allows it no legal free speech protections. This sets a relatively low bar for the protection of controversial speech across 47 European states and leaves wiggle room for states eager to exploit such openings to further expand the permissible limits on expression.

EU law, which has primacy over national law, is increasingly developing new limitations on speech that apply to all member states. The Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, adopted in 2008, obliges EU states to criminalize hate speech, albeit not in a uniform manner. Lately, the European Commission has signaled that it wants to see the Framework Decision enforced more vigorously. In a speech on Oct. 2, 2015, EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Vera Jourova said that member states must firmly and immediately investigate and prosecute racist hatred. She added, I find it disgraceful that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in only 13 member states. The commission has even suggested that legal proceedings could be brought against member states that have not fully transposed the Framework Decision that is, the commission is considering bringing member states before the European Court of Justice for offering freedom of expression protection that is too strong.

But the most serious blow to freedom of expression in Europe may be the recently signed Code of Conduct (COC) between the European Commission and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube. Under the COC, these tech giants have agreed to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary. What constitutes illegal hate speech is not clear. The COC refers to the Framework Decision and national laws. However, the Framework Decisions definition of what constitutes incitement to hatred is far from clear, and national hate speech laws vary widely. While 13 countries ban Holocaust denial, many others do not. In Sweden, an artist was imprisoned for six months for racist and offensive posters exhibited in an art museum; the same posters were freely exhibited in Denmark. Should Facebook remove all content that may constitute Holocaust denial, or only when uploaded in, say, Germany or France? Should an internet meme based on the offensive Swedish posters be guided by Danish or Swedish standards? This uncertainty may force companies to err on the side of caution and adopt a bias toward preventive censorship.

The COC essentially privatizes internet censorship with none of the accountability, publicity, and legal safeguards that follow from proper legal procedures. Since social media has become essential for traditional media to reach a wide audience, the COC could cause a ripple effect of self-censorship on the part of outlets that fear their content could be removed from social media platforms for being hate speech. The COC will not only affect freedom of expression in the EU, but also the EUs ability to campaign credibly for freedom of expression and internet freedom in countries where censorship is the norm. After all, why should the Putins and Xi Jipings of the world take lessons on internet freedom from an organization that imposes nebulous limits on the internet?

Democratic Europe still remains a bastion of free speech compared with most other places in the world. But the closing of the European mind, by prohibiting expressions that agitate against Europes fundamental values, moves these democracies uncomfortably close to practices that the EU is supposed to guard against. This trend bears an uncanny (albeit imperfect) resemblance to the infamous Section 106 of the East German penal code, which criminalized anti-state propaganda, including agitation against the constitutional basis of the socialist state and social order of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and glorification of fascism and militarism. Europe should make sure that such rot does not take hold in its democratic foundation, which cannot hold firm without a robust protection of free speech.

Photo credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

See the original post:

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Free freedom of speech Essays and Papers – 123helpme.com

– Much like football and fresh apple pie, the cinema is an American pastime. It is rooted in the 20th century and has matured over the decades, mirroring the social and cultural growth of our nation. Compared to their precursors, contemporary films vary in content and target audience and convey a multitude of messages to viewers. But film would not demonstrate such variety without the cultural staple of our media, a constitutional right that is, in itself, an American pastime. Freedom of speech, as provided by the First Amendment, has fertilized the growth of cinema, and, in kind, the history of film has proven that free speech is easily applied to many media platforms, protective of controve… [tags: social growth, culture, media, First Ammendment]

Better Essays 893 words | (2.6 pages) | Preview

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Free freedom of speech Essays and Papers – 123helpme.com

Freedom of speech – Wikiquote

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence. ~ Frederick Douglass

Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. It is often regarded as an integral concept in modern liberal democracies.

In American democracy, this free speech plays two vital roles. The first is well recognized. It is to shape public opinion and to influence elections that, in turn, determine the social climate and steer government. We cherish “the marketplace of ideas” because (we assume) it allows us, through give and take, to arrive at better ideas and to grope our way toward consensus on hard issues.

Free speech’s second function is less understood. It buttresses the political system’s legitimacy. It helps losers, in the struggle for public opinion and electoral success, to accept their fates. It helps keep them loyal to the system, even though it has disappointed them. They will accept the outcomes, because they believe they’ve had a fair opportunity to express and advance their views. There’s always the next election. Free speech underpins our larger concept of freedom.

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Freedom of speech – Wikiquote

Freedom of Speech Quotes – QuotesHunter

Freedom of Speech is a very controversial subject, and with the recent events in France, more timely than ever. I could waste tons of good quotes here in this introduction but I wont. Too many people have fought for the right to speak freely without censorship. Too many people have died for this right to be regarded as an integral concept in our, self-proclaimed, liberal democracies. Too many people; but as it seems, not many enough.

The basic concepts of the notion can be found in nearly all incarnations of the earliest documents dealing with our rights as human beings. As early as 1698, when Englands Bill of Rights granted the Parliament the right to speak its mind; the same bill is in effect today. Some 100 years later in France, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, elevated free speech as an undeniable human right. There is even the famous article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a declaration written and adopted right after the tragic events of the Second World War.

Article 19:

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.

Here is a list of such articles:

Freedom of Speech is important. It is a multifaceted right and it is not limited, contrary to popular belief, to the right of expressing ones ideas:

Sadly, these rights are, most of the times, easier recited than upholded. Discrimination, racism, the power of the rich, unfairness, capitalism: the content of and the means for free expression are in a constant war with terms like politically correct” and respect of individuality”.

Some of the greatest men and women said some wonderful things on the right to speak your mind.

Here are 10 Quotes about Freedom of Speech:

1. Freedom is For Everyone

If we dont believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we dont believe in it at all.

If we dont believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we dont believe in it at all.”

2. What Liberty Means

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

3. You Have the Right of Your Words

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

4. Like Sheep to the Slaughter

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

5. Above All Liberties

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

6. An opinion for a knock down

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

7. Lies Are no Match for the Truth

We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech. Because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.

We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech. Because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.

8. The Right to Blaspheme and Offend

Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society. And yes, it includes the right to blaspheme and offend.

Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society. And yes, it includes the right to blaspheme and offend.

9. The Music of Our Opinions

The sound of tireless voices is the price we have to pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

The sound of tireless voices is the price we have to pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

10. The First Link is All it Takes

With the first link, the chains are forged. The first speech censured, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.

Follow this link:

Freedom of Speech Quotes – QuotesHunter

Freedom of Speech: General – Bill of Rights Institute

Schenck v. United States (1919)

Freedom of speech can be limited during wartime. The government can restrict expressions that would create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. Read More.

Abrams v. United States (1919)

The First Amendment did not protect printing leaflets urging to resist the war effort, calling for a general strike, and advocating violent revolution. Read More.

Debs v. United States (1919)

The First Amendment did not protect an anti-war speech designed to obstruct recruiting. Read More.

Gitlow v. New York (1925)

The Supreme Court applied protection of free speech to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Read More.

Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)

The First Amendment did not protect fighting words which, by being said, cause injury or cause an immediate breach of the peace. Read More.

West Virginia v. Barnette (1943)

The West Virginia Boards policy requiring students and teachers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. Reversing Minersville v. Gobitas (1940), the Court held government cannot force citizens to confess by word or act their faith in matters of opinion. Read More.

United States v. OBrien (1968)

The First Amendment did not protect burning draft cards in protest of the Vietnam War as a form of symbolic speech. Read More.

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

The Court ruled that students wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War was pure speech, or symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment. Read More.

Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

The Supreme Court held that the First and Fourteenth Amendments protected speech advocating violence at a Ku Klux Klan rally because the speech did not call for imminent lawless action. Read More.

Cohen v. California (1971)

A California statute prohibiting the display of offensive messages violated freedom of expression. Read More.

Miller v. California (1973)

This case set forth rules for obscenity prosecutions, but it also gave states and localities flexibility in determining what is obscene. Read More.

Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982)

The Supreme Court ruled that officials could not remove books from school libraries because they disagreed with the content of the books messages. Read More.

Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986)

A school could suspend a pupil for giving a student government nomination speech full of elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor. Read More.

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Flag burning as political protest is a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment. Read More.

R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992)

A criminal ordinance prohibiting the display of symbols that arouse anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender was unconstitutional. The law violated the First Amendment because it punished speech based on the ideas expressed. Read More.

Reno v. ACLU (1997)

The 1996 Communications Decency Act was ruled unconstitutional since it was overly broad and vague in its regulation of speech on the Internet, and since it attempted to regulate indecent speech, which the First Amendment protects. Read More.

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society v. Stratton (2002)

City laws requiring permits for political advocates going door to door were unconstitutional because such a mandate would have a chilling effect on political communication. Read More.

United States v. American Library Association (2003)

The federal government could require public libraries to use Internet-filtering software to prevent viewing of pornography by minors. The burden placed on adult patrons who had to request the filters be disabled was minimal. Read More.

Virginia v. Hicks (2003)

Richmond could ban non-residents from public housing complexes if the non-residents did not have a legitimate business or social purpose for being there. The trespass policy was not overbroad and did not infringe upon First Amendment rights. Read More.

Virginia v. Black (2003)

A blanket ban on cross-burning was an unconstitutional content-based restriction on free speech. States could ban cross burning with intent to intimidate, but the cross burning act alone was not enough evidence to infer intent. Read More.

Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004)

The Child On-Line Protection Act violated the First Amendment because it was overbroad, it resulted in content-based restrictions on speech, and there were less-restrictive options available to protect children from harmful materials. Read More.

Morse v. Frederick (2007)

The First Amendment did not protect a public school students right to display a banner reading Bong Hits 4 Jesus. While students have the right to engage in political speech, the right was outweighed by the schools mission to discourage drug use. Read More.

See the rest here:

Freedom of Speech: General – Bill of Rights Institute

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Read more from the original source:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Read more:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Over the past decade, there has been a global decline in respect for freedom of expression. And Europes democracies traditionally understood to be places in which these rights are both honored and protected have not been immune.

According to Reporters Without Borderss Press Freedom Index, which measures trends in media freedom at both the global and regional levels, all but two European Union-member states (plus Iceland and Norway) have a lower press freedom score in 2016 than they did in 2013. In some cases, there has been marked backsliding: Germany went from a score of 10.24 in 2013 to 14.8 in 2016 (the lower the score, the more respect for press freedom); the United Kingdom has gone from 16.89 to 21.7; and Poland is among the worst cases, jumping from a respectable 13.11 to a deeply worrying 23.89. These scores reflect changes in important indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, and rule of law, among others.

Freedom of expression has always been unevenly protected in Europe. This is because of a philosophical divide that cuts across the continent: Some European countries can be classified as militant democracies. In these countries, the state limits freedom of speech and association when it is deemed to threaten other values outlined in the constitution, such as democracy and the freedom of others. Germany, which regularly bans or has banned various Communist, National Socialist, and Islamist organizations, is a classic example.France, which prohibits Holocaust denial, shuts down mosques it deems too radical and aggressively enforces laws against hate speech and glorification of terrorism, also falls mainly into this camp.

While there are historical justifications for some of these policies, they raise important questions and produce awkward results. Why is it impermissible to deny the Holocaust but permissible to deny the Armenian genocide? Or the evils of the slave trade and colonialism for that matter? What is the metric used for determining whether something is hate speech, or just permissible criticism? Increasingly, laws against hatred and offense have come to target controversial but non-violent speech including that of comedians, politicians critical of immigration, as well as Muslims vocally opposed to Western foreign policy. Moreover, there seems to be little evidence suggesting that suppressing speech leads to higher levels of tolerance in liberal democracies. A new report from Germanys domestic intelligence agencyshows not only that there were 500 more extreme-right entities in 2015 than in 2014, but also that there has been a 42 percent increase in violent acts by right-wing extremists over that same period. American NGO Human Rights First also documented a doubling of anti-Semitic hate crimes in France from 2014-2015. A recent report by two Norwegian researchers suggests that an environment where controversial expressions are filtered out may increase the risk of extremist violence.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom the liberal democracies that have traditionally been more tolerant of intolerance (though no European state offers as robust a protection of free speech as the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution). Lately, however, it seems that even these states are edging closer toward a militant democracy-style approach.

This past spring, a majority in the Danish Parliament broke with 70 years of tolerating most instances of extreme expressions to enact a law that will criminalize religious teaching that explicitly condones certain crimes such as murder, violence, and even polygamy. Under the law, an imam or priest who explicitly condones the spanking of children or polygamy as part of his or her religious teaching would face up to three years in prison, whereas a politician or ordinary citizen condoning such practices would be free to do so. The law also bars religious preachers who have expressed anti-democratic views from entering the country.

Denmark has been a bastion of free speech protections in Europe, including, at times, from groups that have advocated for totalitarian ideologies, both secular and religious. During the Cold War, the Danish Communist Party held seats in Parliament and freely published pro-Kremlin propaganda. Nazis were also allowed to regroup and advocate their supremacist ideas despite the Nazi occupation of Denmark from 1940-45. Notwithstanding this permissive environment, neither Nazism nor Communism has managed to seriously establish themselves in Denmark. Despite worrying levels of radicalization among some Danish Muslims, Denmark is hardly poised to become a caliphate anytime soon. And yet there are signs that the land that fiercely stood up for the right of its newspapers to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has begun shifting away from this commitment to free expression. On Constitution Day in early June, Danish Justice Minister Sren Pind who once called himself the Freedom Minister because of his determination to spread liberty to developing countries in the global south announced his intention to criminalize the grossly negligent sharing of extremist material online. If the law is enacted, linking to online magazines such as the Islamic States Dabiq would mean jail time.

Denmarks efforts have been inspired by various counterextremist measures that the historically tolerant U.K. has taken over the past decade. In a speech in May, for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intentions to pursue a law that will, according to the Guardian, allow the government the ability to ban non-violent extremist organizations, gag individuals and empower local councils to close premises used to promote hatred. The government has previously defined extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This definition is vast and sweeping: It would essentially label anyone opposed to liberal democracy as an extremist.

The movement toward a more German approach to free speech, one that silences the perceived enemies of an open society, has not only taken root at the national level but is increasingly the guiding philosophy of European institutions. The final limits on free speech in Europe are ultimately determined by the European Court of Human Rights, which is under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. The court can pass legally binding judgments against member states. In a number of cases, the court has determined that member states may ban extremist religious and political organizations (such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement committed to the nonviolent establishment of a global caliphate) and prohibit mere glorification of terrorism. The court views hate speech, including Holocaust denial, as an abuse of convention rights and therefore allows it no legal free speech protections. This sets a relatively low bar for the protection of controversial speech across 47 European states and leaves wiggle room for states eager to exploit such openings to further expand the permissible limits on expression.

EU law, which has primacy over national law, is increasingly developing new limitations on speech that apply to all member states. The Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, adopted in 2008, obliges EU states to criminalize hate speech, albeit not in a uniform manner. Lately, the European Commission has signaled that it wants to see the Framework Decision enforced more vigorously. In a speech on Oct. 2, 2015, EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Vera Jourova said that member states must firmly and immediately investigate and prosecute racist hatred. She added, I find it disgraceful that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in only 13 member states. The commission has even suggested that legal proceedings could be brought against member states that have not fully transposed the Framework Decision that is, the commission is considering bringing member states before the European Court of Justice for offering freedom of expression protection that is too strong.

But the most serious blow to freedom of expression in Europe may be the recently signed Code of Conduct (COC) between the European Commission and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube. Under the COC, these tech giants have agreed to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary. What constitutes illegal hate speech is not clear. The COC refers to the Framework Decision and national laws. However, the Framework Decisions definition of what constitutes incitement to hatred is far from clear, and national hate speech laws vary widely. While 13 countries ban Holocaust denial, many others do not. In Sweden, an artist was imprisoned for six months for racist and offensive posters exhibited in an art museum; the same posters were freely exhibited in Denmark. Should Facebook remove all content that may constitute Holocaust denial, or only when uploaded in, say, Germany or France? Should an internet meme based on the offensive Swedish posters be guided by Danish or Swedish standards? This uncertainty may force companies to err on the side of caution and adopt a bias toward preventive censorship.

The COC essentially privatizes internet censorship with none of the accountability, publicity, and legal safeguards that follow from proper legal procedures. Since social media has become essential for traditional media to reach a wide audience, the COC could cause a ripple effect of self-censorship on the part of outlets that fear their content could be removed from social media platforms for being hate speech. The COC will not only affect freedom of expression in the EU, but also the EUs ability to campaign credibly for freedom of expression and internet freedom in countries where censorship is the norm. After all, why should the Putins and Xi Jipings of the world take lessons on internet freedom from an organization that imposes nebulous limits on the internet?

Democratic Europe still remains a bastion of free speech compared with most other places in the world. But the closing of the European mind, by prohibiting expressions that agitate against Europes fundamental values, moves these democracies uncomfortably close to practices that the EU is supposed to guard against. This trend bears an uncanny (albeit imperfect) resemblance to the infamous Section 106 of the East German penal code, which criminalized anti-state propaganda, including agitation against the constitutional basis of the socialist state and social order of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and glorification of fascism and militarism. Europe should make sure that such rot does not take hold in its democratic foundation, which cannot hold firm without a robust protection of free speech.

Photo credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Read the original:

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Freedom of Speech Quotes – QuotesHunter

Freedom of Speech is a very controversial subject, and with the recent events in France, more timely than ever. I could waste tons of good quotes here in this introduction but I wont. Too many people have fought for the right to speak freely without censorship. Too many people have died for this right to be regarded as an integral concept in our, self-proclaimed, liberal democracies. Too many people; but as it seems, not many enough.

The basic concepts of the notion can be found in nearly all incarnations of the earliest documents dealing with our rights as human beings. As early as 1698, when Englands Bill of Rights granted the Parliament the right to speak its mind; the same bill is in effect today. Some 100 years later in France, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, elevated free speech as an undeniable human right. There is even the famous article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a declaration written and adopted right after the tragic events of the Second World War.

Article 19:

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.

Here is a list of such articles:

Freedom of Speech is important. It is a multifaceted right and it is not limited, contrary to popular belief, to the right of expressing ones ideas:

Sadly, these rights are, most of the times, easier recited than upholded. Discrimination, racism, the power of the rich, unfairness, capitalism: the content of and the means for free expression are in a constant war with terms like politically correct” and respect of individuality”.

Some of the greatest men and women said some wonderful things on the right to speak your mind.

Here are 10 Quotes about Freedom of Speech:

1. Freedom is For Everyone

If we dont believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we dont believe in it at all.

If we dont believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we dont believe in it at all.”

2. What Liberty Means

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

3. You Have the Right of Your Words

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

4. Like Sheep to the Slaughter

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

5. Above All Liberties

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

6. An opinion for a knock down

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

7. Lies Are no Match for the Truth

We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech. Because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.

We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech. Because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.

8. The Right to Blaspheme and Offend

Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society. And yes, it includes the right to blaspheme and offend.

Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society. And yes, it includes the right to blaspheme and offend.

9. The Music of Our Opinions

The sound of tireless voices is the price we have to pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

The sound of tireless voices is the price we have to pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

10. The First Link is All it Takes

With the first link, the chains are forged. The first speech censured, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.

Excerpt from:

Freedom of Speech Quotes – QuotesHunter

What Are Examples of Freedom of Speech? | Reference.com

Examples of freedom of speech, protected by the First Amendment, include the right to voice political criticisms, the right to speak out against the government, the right to protest on school grounds or within the community and the right to refuse to salute or burn the U.S. flag. Freedom of speech allows individuals the right to not speak and to use offensive phrases or words.

With some restrictions as set forth by the First Amendment, additional examples of freedom of speech include contributing money to local, state and federal political campaigns and the right to advertise products and services. Symbolic speech, such as holding signs of criticisms during a protest, burning books or flags and wearing black armbands in protest of war are also examples of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not permit individuals to solicit or advertise illegal products or drugs, distribute and create obscene materials and use speech that would inflict harm in a crowd, such as shouting that a fire exists when it doesn’t. On school grounds, additional restrictions apply, such as the right to use obscene speech in the classroom or during a speech and printing stories or photos in a high school newspaper when objections from administration exist.

Read more:

What Are Examples of Freedom of Speech? | Reference.com

Freedom of Speech & Expression Archives – FIRE

Freedom of speech is the right to engage in expression without censorship or interference from government or its agencies. This includes, but is not limited to, what people say, write, read, sing, paint, perform, draw, and even wear. While not unlimited, this right is broader in the United States than in any other country.

See the original post:

Freedom of Speech & Expression Archives – FIRE

The Importance of Freedom of Speech in College Essay …

812 Words 4 Pages

Freedom of speech is more than just the right to say what one pleases. Freedom of speech is the right to voice your opinion on certain topics or dilemmas around you. This basic right given to us in the First Amendment is being challenged by colleges who encourage freedom of speech with certain restrictions. In the two videos provided by FIRE, certain situations where students basic rights were violated were shown. In the first video presented by FIRE, I was very surprised to learn that some colleges opt to control what you wear, what you post on Facebook or what you say. Instead of educating young adults, it appears that colleges nowadays are trying to babysit them in every dimension of life, including their personal online social life. One example that prominently stood out to me was Hayden Barnes story, in video two. Hayden Barnes found himself in deep trouble with the school when he decided to speak out against an overpriced project that the school had decided to complete, by using student fees. This situation shows exactly why organizations like FIRE are needed. Students in certain schools have little to no verbal opinion on what happens at their school. There are certain things youre allowed to say, and certain things that you are not allowed to say. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and does it exist on college campuses? When freedom of speech is confined in higher institutions, it diminishes the budding adults importance of this crucial right.

Continued here:

The Importance of Freedom of Speech in College Essay …

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Over the past decade, there has been a global decline in respect for freedom of expression. And Europes democracies traditionally understood to be places in which these rights are both honored and protected have not been immune.

According to Reporters Without Borderss Press Freedom Index, which measures trends in media freedom at both the global and regional levels, all but two European Union-member states (plus Iceland and Norway) have a lower press freedom score in 2016 than they did in 2013. In some cases, there has been marked backsliding: Germany went from a score of 10.24 in 2013 to 14.8 in 2016 (the lower the score, the more respect for press freedom); the United Kingdom has gone from 16.89 to 21.7; and Poland is among the worst cases, jumping from a respectable 13.11 to a deeply worrying 23.89. These scores reflect changes in important indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, and rule of law, among others.

Freedom of expression has always been unevenly protected in Europe. This is because of a philosophical divide that cuts across the continent: Some European countries can be classified as militant democracies. In these countries, the state limits freedom of speech and association when it is deemed to threaten other values outlined in the constitution, such as democracy and the freedom of others. Germany, which regularly bans or has banned various Communist, National Socialist, and Islamist organizations, is a classic example.France, which prohibits Holocaust denial, shuts down mosques it deems too radical and aggressively enforces laws against hate speech and glorification of terrorism, also falls mainly into this camp.

While there are historical justifications for some of these policies, they raise important questions and produce awkward results. Why is it impermissible to deny the Holocaust but permissible to deny the Armenian genocide? Or the evils of the slave trade and colonialism for that matter? What is the metric used for determining whether something is hate speech, or just permissible criticism? Increasingly, laws against hatred and offense have come to target controversial but non-violent speech including that of comedians, politicians critical of immigration, as well as Muslims vocally opposed to Western foreign policy. Moreover, there seems to be little evidence suggesting that suppressing speech leads to higher levels of tolerance in liberal democracies. A new report from Germanys domestic intelligence agencyshows not only that there were 500 more extreme-right entities in 2015 than in 2014, but also that there has been a 42 percent increase in violent acts by right-wing extremists over that same period. American NGO Human Rights First also documented a doubling of anti-Semitic hate crimes in France from 2014-2015. A recent report by two Norwegian researchers suggests that an environment where controversial expressions are filtered out may increase the risk of extremist violence.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom the liberal democracies that have traditionally been more tolerant of intolerance (though no European state offers as robust a protection of free speech as the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution). Lately, however, it seems that even these states are edging closer toward a militant democracy-style approach.

This past spring, a majority in the Danish Parliament broke with 70 years of tolerating most instances of extreme expressions to enact a law that will criminalize religious teaching that explicitly condones certain crimes such as murder, violence, and even polygamy. Under the law, an imam or priest who explicitly condones the spanking of children or polygamy as part of his or her religious teaching would face up to three years in prison, whereas a politician or ordinary citizen condoning such practices would be free to do so. The law also bars religious preachers who have expressed anti-democratic views from entering the country.

Denmark has been a bastion of free speech protections in Europe, including, at times, from groups that have advocated for totalitarian ideologies, both secular and religious. During the Cold War, the Danish Communist Party held seats in Parliament and freely published pro-Kremlin propaganda. Nazis were also allowed to regroup and advocate their supremacist ideas despite the Nazi occupation of Denmark from 1940-45. Notwithstanding this permissive environment, neither Nazism nor Communism has managed to seriously establish themselves in Denmark. Despite worrying levels of radicalization among some Danish Muslims, Denmark is hardly poised to become a caliphate anytime soon. And yet there are signs that the land that fiercely stood up for the right of its newspapers to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has begun shifting away from this commitment to free expression. On Constitution Day in early June, Danish Justice Minister Sren Pind who once called himself the Freedom Minister because of his determination to spread liberty to developing countries in the global south announced his intention to criminalize the grossly negligent sharing of extremist material online. If the law is enacted, linking to online magazines such as the Islamic States Dabiq would mean jail time.

Denmarks efforts have been inspired by various counterextremist measures that the historically tolerant U.K. has taken over the past decade. In a speech in May, for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intentions to pursue a law that will, according to the Guardian, allow the government the ability to ban non-violent extremist organizations, gag individuals and empower local councils to close premises used to promote hatred. The government has previously defined extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This definition is vast and sweeping: It would essentially label anyone opposed to liberal democracy as an extremist.

The movement toward a more German approach to free speech, one that silences the perceived enemies of an open society, has not only taken root at the national level but is increasingly the guiding philosophy of European institutions. The final limits on free speech in Europe are ultimately determined by the European Court of Human Rights, which is under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. The court can pass legally binding judgments against member states. In a number of cases, the court has determined that member states may ban extremist religious and political organizations (such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement committed to the nonviolent establishment of a global caliphate) and prohibit mere glorification of terrorism. The court views hate speech, including Holocaust denial, as an abuse of convention rights and therefore allows it no legal free speech protections. This sets a relatively low bar for the protection of controversial speech across 47 European states and leaves wiggle room for states eager to exploit such openings to further expand the permissible limits on expression.

EU law, which has primacy over national law, is increasingly developing new limitations on speech that apply to all member states. The Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, adopted in 2008, obliges EU states to criminalize hate speech, albeit not in a uniform manner. Lately, the European Commission has signaled that it wants to see the Framework Decision enforced more vigorously. In a speech on Oct. 2, 2015, EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Vera Jourova said that member states must firmly and immediately investigate and prosecute racist hatred. She added, I find it disgraceful that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in only 13 member states. The commission has even suggested that legal proceedings could be brought against member states that have not fully transposed the Framework Decision that is, the commission is considering bringing member states before the European Court of Justice for offering freedom of expression protection that is too strong.

But the most serious blow to freedom of expression in Europe may be the recently signed Code of Conduct (COC) between the European Commission and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube. Under the COC, these tech giants have agreed to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary. What constitutes illegal hate speech is not clear. The COC refers to the Framework Decision and national laws. However, the Framework Decisions definition of what constitutes incitement to hatred is far from clear, and national hate speech laws vary widely. While 13 countries ban Holocaust denial, many others do not. In Sweden, an artist was imprisoned for six months for racist and offensive posters exhibited in an art museum; the same posters were freely exhibited in Denmark. Should Facebook remove all content that may constitute Holocaust denial, or only when uploaded in, say, Germany or France? Should an internet meme based on the offensive Swedish posters be guided by Danish or Swedish standards? This uncertainty may force companies to err on the side of caution and adopt a bias toward preventive censorship.

The COC essentially privatizes internet censorship with none of the accountability, publicity, and legal safeguards that follow from proper legal procedures. Since social media has become essential for traditional media to reach a wide audience, the COC could cause a ripple effect of self-censorship on the part of outlets that fear their content could be removed from social media platforms for being hate speech. The COC will not only affect freedom of expression in the EU, but also the EUs ability to campaign credibly for freedom of expression and internet freedom in countries where censorship is the norm. After all, why should the Putins and Xi Jipings of the world take lessons on internet freedom from an organization that imposes nebulous limits on the internet?

Democratic Europe still remains a bastion of free speech compared with most other places in the world. But the closing of the European mind, by prohibiting expressions that agitate against Europes fundamental values, moves these democracies uncomfortably close to practices that the EU is supposed to guard against. This trend bears an uncanny (albeit imperfect) resemblance to the infamous Section 106 of the East German penal code, which criminalized anti-state propaganda, including agitation against the constitutional basis of the socialist state and social order of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and glorification of fascism and militarism. Europe should make sure that such rot does not take hold in its democratic foundation, which cannot hold firm without a robust protection of free speech.

Photo credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Read the original post:

Europes Freedom of Speech Fail Foreign Policy

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Read more here:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …


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