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Free Speech and Censorship Around the Globe

Free Speech and Censorship Around the Globe

Edited by Péter Molnár
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 562
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  • Book Info
    Free Speech and Censorship Around the Globe
    Book Description:

    This book focuses on regulatory challenges of creating and sustaining freedom of speech and freedom of information two decades after the fall of the Berlin wall, in global, comparative context. Some chapters overview, others address specific issues, or describe country case studies. Instead of trying to provide an exhaustive assessment which in one volume might not reach deeper analyzes of contextual details, this book will shed light on and help better understanding of general challenges for freedom of speech and information through varying comparative examples and highlighting important regulatory questions.

    eISBN: 978-963-386-057-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    John Shattuck

    Free speech is the bedrock of democracy. It supports and gives meaning to three building blocks of an open society.

    First is the political principle that individuals and groups have the right to decide how and by whom they should be governed, and to hold accountable those whom they choose as their governors. This requires the freedom to speak, to exchange information and ideas and challenge the ideas of others, particularly those who govern, and to have access to information.

    Second is the intellectual principle that truth is neither stable nor fixed, and that much of what was once considered...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)
    Péter Molnár

    This is a book about free speech narratives. Stories about how imagination and rational thinking in wildly different cultures capture, imagine, and conceptualize what freedom of speech means. 1989 and 2011 are only two recent (in historic perspective) turning points when freedom of speech and freedom of the press emerged, or at least powerful efforts were made to support its emergence, although disheartening backlashes followed in several countries. This book also tells many other free speech narratives that emerged, or evolved outside the frames of 1989 and 2011, also with several troublesome repercussions.

    The fall of the Berlin wall in...


    • 1989, 2011, and Strategic Narratives
      (pp. 7-22)
      Monroe Price

      András Sajó once famously said that 1989 was hardly a period of revolutions—it was a period of restorations. The problem for those refashioning Hungary (leaders and society), and other countries in the region, was what era, what combination of history and power, what nomenclature to restore. Like most states, Hungary was, in large part, a collection of stories connected to power: it was shaped by remembered traditions, obligations and laws—all stories in themselves. It could be said that many of the post-1989 struggles resulted from rummaging through elements of the national past and picking which to glorify and...

    • Four Dangers for Freedom of Expression and the Internet: An Interview with Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
      (pp. 23-36)
      Péter Molnár and Frank La Rue

      Péter Molnár: Let me start with a general question: As the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, how do you see the recent changes and developments in free speech issues?

      Frank La Rue: In the world?

      PM: Yes.

      FL: I see four main problems and I think many of them are derived from the rise of the Internet. I think the Internet is one of the most wonderful things that has happened to communication, and it can actually enhance, not only freedom of expression, but it can also enhance citizen participation and the dynamic participation of people to strengthen...

    • Freedom of Speech in the OSCE Countries: An Interview with Dunja Mijatović, Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
      (pp. 37-44)
      Péter Molnár and Dunja Mijatović

      Péter Molnár: What in your view are the main improvements for free speech and freedom of the press since you have been in office? Are these general tendencies in OSCE member states (and elsewhere), or taking place rather in specific countries, or regions, and, if the latter, in which countries, or regions?

      Dunja Mijatović: The environment is changing, although slowly, and in certain substantive areas for the better. Two of the issues I have focused on are violence against journalists and the rise in unwarranted regulations restricting Internet freedom.

      Violence against journalists with impunity remains a main threat to media...

    • Revisiting the Three Europes: Diverging Landscapes of Media Freedom
      (pp. 45-58)
      Miklós Haraszti

      Do you remember when the landscape of media freedom in Europe was sharply divided—just as in Budapest the Danube divides the hills of Buda from the lowland of Pest—by a long, dramatic barrier that ran from north to south and separated those who had freedom of expression from those who did not?

      By now, you must be getting along in years to remember that, because the sharp divide I’m talking about existed before the 1980s. The Iron Curtain of communications remained fully intact only until the dissident intellectuals and democratic opposition movements of Central Europe discovered—or even,...

    • Freedom of Expression, Media and Journalism under the European Human Rights System: Characteristics, Developments, and Challenges
      (pp. 59-104)
      Dirk Voorhoof

      All parliamentary democracies in Europe guarantee freedom of expression and media freedom in their constitutions, media laws or human rights acts. The practice and application of freedom of expression and information, however, has often been, and to some extent still is, problematic. In some periods of time and specifically in the areas of state security, public order, the reputation of public persons and in the domain of morals and religion, the right to freedom of expression has not always been respected by governments, executive bodies or judicial authorities. Still the general tendency is that the scope and level of protection...

    • Jurisprudential Advances and Persistent Challenges for Freedom of Expression in the Americas
      (pp. 105-136)
      Catalina Botero Marino

      During the final decades of the 20th century, there was a true democratic rebirth in the Americas. This new era was characterized by the end of the military dictatorships, the decline of the Cold War culture, and the emergence of new constitutional hopes. Nevertheless, in certain areas the legal and cultural legacy of the authoritarian regimes still persisted and its influence had managed to make its way into some of the systems where democratic forms of government had been maintained. This influence was particularly notable in some areas, and such was the case of the right to freedom of expression....

    • The Right to Information in Latin America
      (pp. 137-158)
      Toby Mendel

      Countries in Latin America have been somewhat late in recognizing the right to information, or the right to access information held by public authorities (also referred to as freedom of information). With the exception of Colombia, which adopted a rather skeletal right to information law in 1985, no country in Latin America had adopted a law giving effect to this right prior to 2002. This may be contrasted with North America and Europe, where laws date back much earlier, and even Asia, where countries like Japan,¹ South Korea² and Thailand³ all adopted laws before 2000.

      But Latin America has made...

    • Freedom of Speech and Access to Information in Africa: An Interview with Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
      (pp. 159-166)
      Péter Molnár and Pansy Tlakula

      Péter Molnár: In light of the Arab revolutions and their aftermath, how would you compare freedom of speech in North Africa and in Sub-Saharan Africa?

      Pansy Tlakula: What is popularly known as the Arab Spring has brought a lot of changes to the North African subregion of the continent, especially in the area of freedom of speech and demand for the right of the public to access information held by public institutions, amongst many other human right issues. The uprising that swept through the region clearly depicts various ways in which people could both claim and exercise their right to...

    • A Right Emerges: The History of the Right of Access to Information and Its Link with Freedom of Expression
      (pp. 167-186)
      Helen Darbishire

      Remarkable as it now seems in retrospect, for two hundred years after the adoption of the Swedish Freedom of the Printing Press Act in 1766 until the 1970s, there was almost no significant legislative movement on the right of access to information.

      The benefits of openness had been posited during the 18th century when the word “transparency” was used in the works of political philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), who promoted openness in his plans for the government of Poland in 1772, proposing that all public officeholders should operate “in the eyes of the public” and even wear...

    • The Right to Information and the Expanding Scope of Bodies Covered by National Laws since 1989
      (pp. 187-210)
      Sandra Coliver

      Recognition of the right to information (RTI) has expanded dramatically over the past quarter century. In November 1989, only 13 countries had laws granting their citizens a right to information held by public authorities,² and the right had not been recognized as a human right by any intergovernmental body. Instead, the right to freedom of expression, codified in the leading human rights treaties, was interpreted to provide only a right to seek, receive, and impart information free from government interference or, at most, a right to receive government-held information that was necessary to protect a fundamental right.³ At the national...

    • The Rabat Plan of Action: A Critical Turning Point in International Law on “Hate Speech”
      (pp. 211-232)
      Sejal Parmar

      This chapter considers the “Rabat Plan of Action on the Prohibition of Advocacy of National, Racial or Religious Hatred That Constitutes Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility or Violence” (RPA) as a critical “turning point” in the development of international law on so-called “hate speech,” particularly under Article 20, para. 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This provision, one of the most controversial in any human rights treaty, requires the prohibition of “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”² Adopted by experts on 5 October 2012 in Rabat,...

    • Free to Hate? Anti-Gypsyism in 21st-Century Europe
      (pp. 233-252)
      Bernard Rorke

      Right across Central and Eastern Europe, more than 20 years after the transitions from dictatorship, there remains one glaring democratic shortfall. The Roma, Europe’s largest ethnic minority, became the losers in the system changes that swept the region since 1989—two decades on the Roma are the most impoverished, the most despised, and the most excluded citizens in the brave new world of multiparty democracy and the free market economy. The Romani population in Europe today is variously estimated at between 7 and 10 million people. Precise demographic data are not available; however most observers agree that the two waves...


    • The Role of the Mass Media in the Spanish Transition to Democracy and Its Subsequent Consolidation
      (pp. 255-272)
      Josep Maria Carbonell and Joan Barata Mir

      More than 30 years have passed since the constitutional referendum of 1978 guaranteeing the establishment of a fully democratic administration which would end nearly 50 years of military dictatorship in Spain.

      It must not be forgotten that, after the cruel and bloody Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and on the threshold of World War II, Spain experienced a period of self-sufficiency under the nationalist dictatorship of General Franco. In terms of ideology this post-Fascist, Catholic regime was diametrically opposed to those imposed in Central Eastern Europe, after the Yalta Agreement, by the former Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it shared their highly...

    • Russia’s Supreme Court as Media Freedom Protector
      (pp. 273-298)
      Andrei Richter

      In June 2010, Russia’s highest court adopted for the first time in its history a coherent interpretation of relevant case law in relation to the mass media, editors and journalists.

      To recall some of the background, according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation (Art. 126)² the supreme judicial body for civil, criminal, administrative and other cases under the jurisdiction of common courts is the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (hereafter, “the Supreme Court”), which among other duties shall “provide explanations on the issues of court practice.” According to V. V. Demidov, at the time secretary of the plenary...

    • Access to Information in Kenya: The Law and Practice Since 1991
      (pp. 299-316)
      Ezra Chiloba

      This chapter assesses the development of access to information policy and practice in Kenya since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1991. It highlights the benefits of increased access to information in general, provides a broad overview of the economic and political context of Kenya, and reviews the law, relevant judicial decisions and administrative procedures in relation to access to information. Finally, this chapter draws some general conclusions while providing a perspective on the future of access to information in Kenya. The general principles of access to information endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression...

    • Freedom of Expression in Ferment: A Cursory Look at the Ethiopian Media Regime
      (pp. 317-336)
      Yared Legesse Mengistu

      While Ethiopia is blessed with a colorful and long history, freedom of expression is only a very recent theme and even so its practice has for long been seriously marred. In a country where secrecy is the established cultural norm, it is no surprise that freedom of expression can be singled out as the most marginalized freedom. The death of Emperor Menelik II (1889–1993) was unabashedly hidden from the public for three years although his absence was apparent.¹

      The dying illness of the late prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was also hidden from the general public until his absence was...

    • Philippines: Expanding the Contours of Free Speech in an Environment of Impunity against Journalists
      (pp. 337-358)
      Gilbert T. Andres

      The Philippines prides itself of having a liberal–democratic free speech and free press legal structure. The Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution protects the right to freedom of speech and of the press:

      Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

      The right to information is also constitutionally protected in Section 7 of the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution:

      Section 7. The right of the people to information on...

    • The Fragile Complexity of Protecting Freedom of Speech in Australia
      (pp. 359-380)
      Rhonda Breit

      Twenty years on from the landmark decisions recognizing a right to freedom of political communication implied in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution, Australians contemplating the legal status of freedom of speech might be excused for asking: Where the bloody hell are we?

      The optimism emerging from the free speech cases of the early 1990s suggesting Australia was moving toward a human rights–based style of judicial review¹ has given way to skepticism and concern about the fragility of freedom of expression in Australia.² Despite the introduction of the Australian Human Rights Framework to protect and promote human rights, consecutive governments...

    • The Impact of New Media on Freedom of Expression in China and the Regulatory Responses
      (pp. 381-408)
      Mei Ning Yan

      Thanks to the increasing popularity of the Internet and mobile phones, Chinese citizens were enjoying greater freedom of expression at the beginning of the 21st century.² The expanded freedom of expression associated with new media gradually gave rise to online activism that became increasingly prevalent with the introduction of Web 2.0 applications, in particular blogs and microblogs. Mindful of the “Twitter revolution” overseas, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) introduced tougher measures to tame new media—an obvious trend in the post–Beijing Olympics era starting in late 2008.

      This was set against a general background that the Chinese government...

    • Eavesdropping on the Freedom of Expression in India
      (pp. 409-428)
      Sunil Abraham

      Today, freedom of expression in India is heavily influenced by policies and practices around intermediary liability and surveillance. Instances like the leaked interceptions in connection with the multi-billion dollar 2G spectrum scam,² the National Technical Research Organization’s (NTRO) pervasive unauthorized wiretapping of 750,000 phone lines,³ the 2011 Intermediaries Guidelines Rules, the Cyber Café Guidelines Rules 2011, the Central Monitoring System, and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s move to censor Internet content before it is published online,⁴ give rise to many important questions about intermediary liability, surveillance, and the freedom of expression in India.

      This chapter explores the chilling effect that the...

    • The “Turkish Model” of Freedom of Speech
      (pp. 429-444)
      Zeynep Alemdar

      In discussions concerning the future of the Arab spring, Turkey was posited as the “model”. The “Turkish model,” portrayed as a successful blend of Islamism and democracy, was popular among both Western and Arab commentators, but Turkey has been subject to a large amount of internal and external criticisms regarding the situation of freedom of speech in the country, especially since the wide protests all over Turkey after the Gezi Park events in June 2013, the corruption allegations that rocked the country before the 17 March 2014 local elections as well as the disruption of elections because of the power...

    • Forging Ahead: A Contemporary Review of Egyptian Press and Media Laws
      (pp. 445-464)
      Brenda F. Abdelall

      Arab nations are bound together through a common language and cultural heritage that enrich their respective societies. However, many Arab nations also share an absence of the essential building blocks of democracy. Specifically, restrictive government intervention and regulations of the media impairs the ability of the people to engage in a free exchange of ideas essential to any functioning democracy. Indeed, freedom of opinion and expression is “perhaps one of the least respected human rights in the Arab world today, regardless of relevant constitutional provisions in each country.”² Further, in much of the Arab world, the media has been recruited...

    • Media, Freedom of Expression and Democratization in Morocco
      (pp. 465-480)
      Abderrahim Chalfaouat

      In Morocco, incessant mass communication attempts at shaping political views and shuffling audience priorities explain the parallel histories of the media, freedom of expression and democratization. Though different constitutions, books of specifications and signing international laws guarantee freedom of expression, the approach Moroccan media adhere to has sparked and influenced discussions in the public sphere, with relation to the media, political and cultural changes, governance and power-sharing mechanisms along the democratization process. Moreover, the fluctuating move of democratization in Morocco indicates that its cadence is unsteady, that the transitory period is never-ending and that social change continually swerves to perpetuate...

    • The Danish Cartoons Controversy: Hate Speech Laws and Unintended Consequences
      (pp. 481-494)
      Richard N. Winfield and Janine Tien

      The Danish cartoons controversy is now almost a decade old and yet its violent legacy continues to influence international affairs. For example, a French magazine’s publication of naked Mohammad cartoons on 19 September 2012 spurred the French government to preemptively close French embassies and schools in 20 countries out of fear of a repeat of the violent protests that occurred after the publication of the Danish cartoons in 2005.² The vicious resilience of the Danish cartoons controversy also manifested itself in June 2012, when four men were sentenced to 12 years in prison for their plan to destroy the newspaper...

    • The UN Defamation of Religions Resolution and Domestic Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan: Creating a Culture of Impunity
      (pp. 495-508)
      Asma T. Uddin

      “The Danish Cartoons Controversy: Hate Speech Laws and Unintended Consequences,” Richard N. Winfield and Janine Tien’s contribution to this volume, raises critical questions about the relationship between the state and religion. The authors focus on the Danish cartoon controversy as a representative example of the pitfalls and unintended consequences of hate speech and blasphemy laws; they argue that the global Danish cartoon controversy became as such largely because of the government’s entanglement in the affair—an entanglement that necessarily, even if unfortunately, flowed from the existence of hate speech and blasphemy provisions in its Criminal Code.

      The authors extend their...

    • A Right to Be Free from Religious Hatred? The Wilders Case in the Netherlands and Beyond
      (pp. 509-530)
      Jeroen Temperman

      Dutch Politician Geert Wilders, leader of the rightist Party for Freedom (PVV), was tried in relation to (religious)¹ defamation and hate speech charges in a case that lasted from 2009 to 2011. Ultimately, on 23 June 2011, he was fully acquitted.² The trial was in many respects a sensational one, not in the least because of the sheer fact that a politician was prosecuted over his public expressions; but also considering the peculiar situation that the Dutch Office of the Prosecution was prosecuting rather reluctantly. That is, initially the prosecutor on the case set the case aside, dismissing any allegations...

  7. List of Contributors
    (pp. 531-544)
  8. Name Index
    (pp. 545-546)
  9. Subject Index
    (pp. 547-552)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 553-553)