Freedom of expression


October 20, 2021

Freedom of expression or free expression is the right of every individual to express ideas and opinions freely, and therefore without censorship. It is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and recognized by most democratic systems. From it derives the freedom of the press. However, the same article of the UDHR restricts the right "to those established by law for the sole purpose of ensuring the recognition and respect of the rights and freedoms of others." Another restriction is that of propaganda in favor of war (International Covenant on Civil, Economic and Political Rights). Freedom of expression is a means for the free dissemination of ideas, and so it was conceived during the Enlightenment. For philosophers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau, the possibility of dissent fosters the advancement of the arts and sciences and genuine political participation. It was one of the pillars of the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution, events that ruled the courts of other Western states. Another classic argument, associated with John Stuart Mill, is that it is essential to the discovery of the truth. The possibility of dissent encourages the advancement of the arts and sciences and genuine political participation.

Characterization of freedom of expression

A legal freedom

Freedom of expression is, above all, a fundamental freedom. Traditionally, freedom rights are distinguished from benefit rights; thus, freedom of expression is characterized because its definition supposes a delimitation of the scope of action of the individual, demanding, therefore, a passivity of the public powers so that with its action it is not disturbed. 'legitimate exercise. Moreover, and following Norberto Bobbio, the rights of freedom are those that tend to "limit the power of the state and to reserve to the individual or to the particular groups a sphere of freedom of the state". However, political rights not only conceive of freedom negatively "as a non-impediment, but positively as autonomy [...] or freedom in the state." This is the case of freedom of expression, especially when it serves to spread messages of general interest or of a political nature. This is what the Constitutional Court itself admits when it states that freedom of expression enshrined in Article 20.1 of the Constitution is of a basically negative and non-benefit nature. Freedom of expression is therefore raised as an “essential complement” for exercise other fundamental rights such as the rights of assembly and demonstration or other political rights. Therefore, freedom of expression would be the keystone that ensures that the rest of the voussoirs (or fundamental rights and freedoms) are properly fixed. The Constitutional Court grants this freedom a "preferential value of liberty over other fundamental rights, including the right to honor" since the guarantee of public opinion is a "constitutional institution of the democratic state."

A fundamental freedom

This freedom is fundamental, that is to say that like specific category of the subjective freedom, it presents / displays a constitutional character that implies the maximum intensity of protection in comparison with the rights and liberties of ordinary or legislative character or with other rights and liberties that they are not found in Section One of Chapter II of the Spanish Constitution. Freedom of expression is therefore unavailable and, therefore, the legislature must respect its essential content as set out in Article 53.1 of the Constitution. Article 20 of the Spanish constitution: 1. The rights are recognized and protected: a) To freely express and disseminate thoughts, ideas and opinions through the

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