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Portal:Freedom of speech

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Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction. The term "freedom of expression" is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".

Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury. Justifications for such include the harm principle, proposed by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, which suggests that: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."

The idea of the "offense principle" is also used in the justification of speech limitations, describing the restriction on forms of expression deemed offensive to society, considering factors such as extent, duration, motives of the speaker, and ease with which it could be avoided. With the evolution of the digital age, application of the freedom of speech becomes more controversial as new means of communication and restrictions arise, for example the Golden Shield Project, an initiative by Chinese government's Ministry of Public Security that filters potentially unfavorable data from foreign countries.

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Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Velazquez.
Legal Services Corp. v. Velazquez, 531 U.S. 535 (2001), was a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the constitutionality of funding restrictions imposed by the United States Congress. Justice Anthony Kennedy (pictured) wrote the majority opinion in the case. At issue were restrictions on the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a private, non-profit corporation established by Congress. The restrictions prohibited LSC attorneys from representing clients attempting to amend or challenge existing welfare law. The Court ruled that these restrictions violated the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because LSC facilitated "private" speech—that of its clients—the restrictions did not merely regulate government speech. Further, the nature of how LSC funds are distributed created a public forum, where the government's ability to regulate speech is highly limited. Because the restrictions excluded attempts to affect only a certain type of law, they could not be considered viewpoint-neutral, and the government is prohibited from making such viewpoint-based restrictions of private speech. Reactions to the decision were mixed within political circles, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing on the propriety of the decision. In academia, there were more critical responses to the Court's holding. Several journals published articles that argued that the use of a 'distortion principle' to decide violations of free speech was unreasonable while others wrote that the Court mishandled the interpretation of the law at issue.

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Midge potts arrested
Credit: Photo taken by Ben Schumin on February 9, 2005

DC Anti-War Network activist Midge Potts is arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. for an act of civil disobedience during an anti-torture demonstration.

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Paul was born in Jacksonville, Florida
Daniel "Dan" Perkins Smith Paul (July 22, 1924 – January 24, 2010) was an American attorney best known for arguing the landmark case Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo before the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision established the principle that government could not force a newspaper to publish content. Paul was born in Jacksonville, Florida, grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, and was educated at Harvard University, receiving degrees in law and public administration. Setting up practice in Miami, Florida, he specialized in First Amendment and environmental law. His clients included the Miami Dolphins of American football and newspapers such as The Miami Herald and the Wall Street Journal. For his active role in city politics, Paul was nicknamed "the father of Metro".

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Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales, 2004

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Freedom of speech

Awards: AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and ResponsibilityValeriu Boboc PrizeCPJ International Press Freedom AwardsFour Freedoms AwardGeschwister-Scholl-PreisGwangju Prize for Human RightsHugh M. Hefner First Amendment AwardJames Madison Freedom of Information AwardLeipzig Human Rights AwardMuzzle AwardsNorwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of ExpressionPEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write AwardPEN/Katherine Anne Porter First Amendment AwardPEN/Newman's Own First Amendment AwardSakharov PrizeUNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom PrizeWilliam J. Brennan AwardWorld Association of Newspapers' Golden Pen of Freedom Award

Books: Beyond the First AmendmentCyber RightsFree Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege"Freedom of ExpressionNet.wars

Freedom of speech

Free speech activists: Floyd AbramsGuy AldredMichael Gottlieb BircknerSusan BlockBrenda BrathwaiteRoy W. BrownLenny BruceGeorge CarlinHenry CarlisleZechariah ChafeeThe ConfessionalsIda CraddockHossein DerakhshanDavid EsratiJohn Henry FaulkElizabeth Gurley FlynnLarry FlyntHeather FordPim FortuynFree Speech LeagueMike GodwinTheo van Gogh (film director)Emma GoldmanBennett HaseltonHugh HefnerMarjorie HeinsBill HicksAyaan Hirsi AliAbbie HoffmanWilliam HoneZoia HornSaad Eddin IbrahimJoesoef IsakJiang LijunPeter JungerChris KemplingRonald KiddKitty MarionHowie KleinJudith KrugLi Zhi (dissident)Elijah Parish LovejoyDeclan McCullaghJohn McGovern (politician)Aaron McGruderKembrew McLeodIrshad ManjiGeorge W. MavetyAlexander MeiklejohnNicholas MerrillGregorius NekschotPhilip NjaruRashid NugmanovUrsula OwenPu ZhiqiangMarc RandazzaBarney RossetHasan SaltıkMargaret SangerMario SavioTheodore SchroederFariborz ShamshiriShi TaoHoward SternNadine StrossenDavid S. TouretzkyWang XiaoningGrady WardGeert WildersRose WitcopFrank ZappaZhou Shuguang

General: Abusive language (law)Article 14 of the Constitution of SingaporeBirth control movement in the United StatesCartoonists Rights Network, InternationalCensorship by countryFalse statements of factFree speech fightsFree Speech LeagueFree Speech Movement • Free Speech Radio News • Free Speech TVFree speech zoneFreedom of informationFreedom of Speech (painting)Freedom of speech by countryFreedom of speech in the United StatesFreedom of the press in the United StatesInternational Freedom of Expression ExchangeFree speech in the media during the Libyan civil warMarket for loyalties theoryOccupy OaklandSPEECH ActThe Tully Center for Free SpeechWhistleblower

Organizations: Action for Children's TelevisionAmerican Society of Magazine EditorsARTICLE 19Canadian Journalists for Free ExpressionCenter for Media Freedom and ResponsibilityCentral Committee for Ex-MuslimsCentral Council of Ex-MuslimsChilling EffectsComic Book Legal Defense FundComic Legends Legal Defense FundCommittee to Protect JournalistsCroatian Journalists' AssociationCryptoRights Foundationdigitalcourage (formerly FoeBuD) • Doha Centre for Media FreedomElectronic Frontier FoundationElectronic Frontiers GeorgiaEuropean Centre for Press and Media FreedomFeminists Against CensorshipFirst Amendment CenterFirst Amendment CoalitionFoundation for Press FreedomFree Speech CoalitionFree Speech LeagueFreedom HouseFreedom of the Press (report)Index on CensorshipInter American Press AssociationInternational Center for Law and Religion StudiesInternational Free Press SocietyInternational Freedom of Expression ExchangeInternational Media SupportInternational PENInternational Press InstituteMedia Legal Defence InitiativeNational Coalition Against CensorshipPacifica ForumPress Freedom IndexReporters Without BordersSave the InternetSomali Exiled Journalists Association (SEJA)South East Europe Media OrganisationSoutheast Asian Press AllianceStudent Press Law CenterSwedish Publicists' AssociationTelevision WatchTunisia Monitoring GroupWorld Press Freedom Committee

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