Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression refers to the right to share information and opinions and to get access to information. Having public and private media that are free from the control and influence of governments and powerful businesses is an important part of freedom of expression. But you can also express opinions by protesting or by working with others who share your beliefs through organisations. So free speech overlaps with the freedom of assembly (the right to protest) and freedom of association (the right to create organisations). These rights help individuals participate in public affairs and are vital to the functioning of democracy. Of course, these rights are not absolute. For example, the authorities can legitimately prohibit child pornography and hate speech or put conditions on protests to prevent them from turning violent. Unfortunately, in many EU countries, authorities are restricting free speech, punishing whistleblowers and banning protests without good reason, just to prevent unpopular laws and policies from being criticised. Similarly, several governments and businesses have a heavy influence on public and privately owned media outlets. This topic covers the work we do to protect free speech, access to information, whistleblowers, media freedom and freedom of assembly.
Freedom of Expression articles
•As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, on 22nd October 2020, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion due to foetal abnormality is unconstitutional.
•New report examines almost 50 Spanish court decisions relating to the crime of glorification of terrorism and finds that a significant number are inconsistent with international human rights law governing the right to free expression
•Corrupt politicians and powerful businesses use legal bullying to silence critical voices. This practice is a threat to European values and to the rule of law. We shared a proposal with the Commission on how to protect journalists and NGOs from SLAPPs.
•European Union legislators are in the final stage of discussing the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. Get engaged - send our message to EU legislators.