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
•The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights's report, entitled "Freedom of Assembly in the Practice of Polish Courts", presents an analysis of the monitoring of court proceedings brought against citizens participating in public assemblies.
•In the case of Kusaite v Lithuania, the UNHCR found that Lithuania had violated the right to freedom of expression of a teenager accused of terror offences, which are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
•In reaction to the enormous success a young German YouTuber had with a pre-election clip in which he harshly criticised the governing CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the party's new leader, has suggested "regulation of the digital sector".
•With the Baltic Pride March for Equality, which will take place in Vilnius on 8 June, fast approaching, T. Raskevičius, member of the Vilnius City Council and a human rights activist, proposed a Council resolution welcoming the LGBT community. The reso...