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 recent opinion of European Court of Justice Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen on a German copyright case paves the way for a ruling later this year by the Court that may finally bring some resolution to the debate on liberalizing EU copyright law.
•In each Member State, debates are conducted on the need to pay copyright fees to a collecting society acting on behalf of authors. Every service provider or manufacturer that wishes to broadcast music to its employees or client needs to pay such a fee.