Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others.
- Advocacy of national, racial, and religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence was prohibited by law, and the law was enforced
- Freedom of opinion and expression was protected throughout the campaign process
- Freedom of opinion and expression by the media was respected throughout the electoral process. In addition, the media respected the freedom of opinion and expression of others
- Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence was prohibited by law, and the law was enforced
- The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article [freedom of expression] carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary.... (a) for respect of the rights of others.
- The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph [freedom of expression] shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which shall be expressly established by law to the extent necessary to ensure: (a) respect for the rights or reputations of others.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions and restrictions as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, public safety or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
- 1. Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive statements or ideas disseminated to the public in general by a legally regulated medium of communication has the right to replay or to make a correction using the same communications outlet, under such conditions as the law may establish. 2. The correction or reply shall not in any case remit other legal liabilities that may have been incurred.
- The second issue is, therefore, whether in the present case such obstacles are justified under article 19, paragraph 3 [Freedom of Opinion and Expression], of the Covenant, which allows certain restrictions but only as provided by law and necessary: (a) for respect of the rights or reputations of others; and (b) for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. The right to freedom of expression is of paramount importance, and any restrictions to the exercise of this right must meet a strict test of justification.
- The Committee recalls, first, that right to freedom of expression is not absolute and that its enjoyment may be subject to limitations.However, pursuant to article 19, paragraph 3, only such limitations are permissible as are provided for by law and that are necessary (a) for respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. The Committee reiterates in this context that the right to freedom of expression is of paramount importance in any democratic society, and that any restrictions on its exercise must meet strict tests of justification.
- Regarding the author’s claim under article 21 of the Covenant, the Committee considers that the State party has failed to demonstrate that the restrictions imposed on the author were necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
- Laws addressing hate speech or protecting public order, public morals, minors, national security or official secrecy and data protection laws are not applied in a manner which inhibits public debate. Such laws impose restrictions of freedom of expression only in response to a pressing matter of public interest, are defined as narrowly as possible to meet the public interest and include proportionate sanctions.
- Any law regulating defamation of character or reputation should be limited to the civil law. Any provision, regardless of the legal source, that imposes disqualification or imprisonment or monetary fines for criticizing or "defaming" the government, another candidate or a political party may be subject to abuse.
- The only exception [to free speech] may be the specific prohibition of inflammatory speech calculated to incite violence or hatred against another person or group.
- 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.