Portal:Freedom of speech

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The Freedom of speech Portal

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's ideas via speech. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity and incitement to commit a crime.

The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone 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". Article 19 goes on to say 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".

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Petition of Right
The Petition of Right is a major English constitutional document that sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing. Passed on 7 June 1628, the Petition contains restrictions on non-Parliamentary taxation, forced billeting of soldiers, imprisonment without cause, and restricts the use of martial law. Following disputes between Parliament and King Charles I over the execution of the Thirty Years' War, Parliament refused to grant subsidies to support the war effort, leading to Charles gathering "forced loans" without Parliamentary approval and arbitrarily imprisoning those who refused to pay. Moreover, the war footing of the nation led to the forced billeting of soldiers within the homes of private citizens, and the declaration of martial law over large swathes of the country. In response, the House of Commons prepared a set of four Resolutions, decrying these actions and restating the validity of Magna Carta and the legal requirement of habeas corpus. These were rejected by Charles, who also announced that Parliament would be dissolved; in response, the Commons met on 6 May to discuss alternatives, and concluded that a petition of right was the way forward. Accordingly, a committee under Sir Edward Coke drafted such a petition, and it was passed by the Commons on 8 May and sent to the House of Lords. After three weeks of debates and conferences between the two chambers, the Petition of Right was ratified by both houses on the 26th and 27 May. Following additional debates in which the King restricted the right of the Commons to freely speak, he bowed to the pressure; in need of Parliamentary support for the war effort, the Petition was accepted on 2 June. Unhappy with the method chosen, both houses joined together and demanded the King fully ratify the Petition, which he did on 7 June. Despite debates over its legal status, the Petition of Right was highly influential. Domestically, the Petition is seen as "one of England's most famous constitutional documents", of equal value to the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights 1689. In a period in which Charles's main protection from the Commons was the House of Lords, the willingness of both chambers to work together marked a new stage in the constitutional crisis that would eventually lead to the English Civil War. The Petition remains in force in the United Kingdom and, thanks to Imperial legislation, many parts of the Commonwealth of Nations including Australia and New Zealand. Internationally, it helped influence the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, and is seen as a predecessor to the Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

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United States Bill of Rights
Credit: United States Congress

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses key issues related to journalism, including Freedom of speech and Freedom of the press: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

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  • December 13: Detained journalist Mohamed Tamalt dies in Algeria
  • October 29: Pakistani PM removes Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid
  • October 3: Indonesian authorities investigate after pornographic film screened on billboard in Jakarta
  • October 12: Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression
  • August 30: Cairo court retrial: Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to three years’ jail
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Jerrold Nadler

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Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence "Larry" Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic and political activist. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications, and he has called for state-based activism to promote substantive reform of government with a Second Constitutional Convention. He is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining Harvard, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a board member of the Software Freedom Law Center, an advisory board member of the Sunlight Foundation and a former board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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William Hale Thompson

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Freedom of speech

Awards: AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and ResponsibilityValeriu Boboc PrizeCPJ International Press Freedom AwardsFour Freedoms AwardGeschwister-Scholl-PreisGwangju Prize for Human RightsHugh M. Hefner First Amendment AwardJames Madison Freedom of Information AwardLeipzig Human Rights AwardMuzzle AwardsNorwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of ExpressionPEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write AwardPEN/Katherine Anne Porter First Amendment AwardPEN/Newman's Own First Amendment AwardSakharov PrizeUNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom PrizeWilliam J. Brennan AwardWorld Association of Newspapers' Golden Pen of Freedom Award

Books: Beyond the First AmendmentCyber RightsFree Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege"Freedom of ExpressionNet.wars

Freedom of speech

Free speech activists: Floyd AbramsGuy AldredMichael Gottlieb BircknerSusan BlockBrenda BrathwaiteRoy W. BrownLenny BruceGeorge CarlinHenry CarlisleZechariah ChafeeThe ConfessionalsIda CraddockHossein DerakhshanDavid EsratiJohn Henry FaulkElizabeth Gurley FlynnLarry FlyntHeather FordPim FortuynFree Speech LeagueMike GodwinTheo van Gogh (film director)Emma GoldmanBennett HaseltonHugh HefnerMarjorie HeinsBill HicksAyaan Hirsi AliAbbie HoffmanWilliam HoneZoia HornSaad Eddin IbrahimJoesoef IsakJiang LijunPeter JungerChris KemplingRonald KiddKitty MarionHowie KleinJudith KrugLi Zhi (dissident)Elijah Parish LovejoyDeclan McCullaghJohn McGovern (politician)Aaron McGruderKembrew McLeodIrshad ManjiGeorge W. MavetyAlexander MeiklejohnNicholas MerrillGregorius NekschotPhilip NjaruRashid NugmanovUrsula OwenPu ZhiqiangMarc RandazzaBarney RossetHasan SaltıkMargaret SangerMario SavioTheodore SchroederFariborz ShamshiriShi TaoHoward SternNadine StrossenDavid S. TouretzkyWang XiaoningGrady WardGeert WildersRose WitcopFrank ZappaZhou Shuguang

General: Abusive language (law)Article 14 of the Constitution of SingaporeBirth control movement in the United StatesCartoonists Rights Network, InternationalCensorship by countryFalse statements of factFree speech fightsFree Speech LeagueFree Speech MovementFree Speech Radio NewsFree Speech TVFree speech zoneFreedom of informationFreedom of Speech (painting)Freedom of speech by countryFreedom of speech in the United StatesFreedom of the press in the United StatesInternational Freedom of Expression ExchangeFree speech in the media during the Libyan civil warMarket for loyalties theoryOccupy OaklandSPEECH ActThe Tully Center for Free SpeechWhistleblower

Organizations: Action for Children's TelevisionAmerican Society of Magazine EditorsARTICLE 19Canadian Journalists for Free ExpressionCenter for Media Freedom and ResponsibilityCentral Committee for Ex-MuslimsCentral Council of Ex-MuslimsChilling EffectsComic Book Legal Defense FundComic Legends Legal Defense FundCommittee to Protect JournalistsCroatian Journalists' AssociationCryptoRights Foundationdigitalcourage (formerly FoeBuD) • Doha Centre for Media FreedomElectronic Frontier FoundationElectronic Frontiers GeorgiaEuropean Centre for Press and Media FreedomFeminists Against CensorshipFirst Amendment CenterFirst Amendment CoalitionFoundation for Press FreedomFree Speech CoalitionFree Speech LeagueFreedom HouseFreedom of the Press (report)Index on CensorshipInter American Press AssociationInternational Center for Law and Religion StudiesInternational Free Press SocietyInternational Freedom of Expression ExchangeInternational Media SupportInternational PENInternational Press InstituteMedia Legal Defence InitiativeNational Coalition Against CensorshipPacifica ForumPress Freedom IndexReporters Without BordersSave the InternetSomali Exiled Journalists Association (SEJA)South East Europe Media OrganisationSoutheast Asian Press AllianceStudent Press Law CenterSwedish Publicists' AssociationTelevision WatchTunisia Monitoring GroupWorld Press Freedom Committee

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