"Too often, the legal framework in a country making the transition to democracy censors campaign speech through the imposition of sanctions for speech that "defames" or "insults" another person, which could include the government, a government official, or a candidate in the electoral campaign. Such provisions are commonly found in the electoral code or media (public information) law. However, the examiner should be thorough in examining the legal framework as such provisions are also found in general constitutional, civil, criminal, and administrative laws. Any law regulating defamation of a person's character or reputation should be included only in the applicable civil law. A provision in the electoral law regulating defamation is not justified. ...Such limitations on free expression violate international human rights law. Additionally, such provisions usually violate free speech guarantees found in a country's constitution. ...This standard, however, is not applicable to prohibitions on inflammatory speech that is calculated to incite another person to violence."
DocumentOSCE (ODIHR): Guidelines for Reviewing a Legal Framework for Elections, First Edition, pp. 20-21
- Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others.
- Freedom of expression should not be limited by the imposition of prior censorship.
- Media should not be held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others.