Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

The right to freedom of opinion and expression protects every individual’s right to hold an opinion without exception or restriction. Freedom of expression protects the right of individuals and the media to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. It protects all means of expression and the means of their dissemination, such as political discourse, cultural and artistic expressions, teaching or religious discourse. It is closely linked to other rights as it often serves as a vehicle to exercise a different right, such as individuals expressing their culture, religion or assemblies to voice concern about a specific topic.

The right of access to information

The right of access to information is also contained in this right, which means that Government must ensure easy, prompt, effective and practical access to information in the public interest. Elements of the right of access to information are also addressed by other human rights, such as the right to health or the right to private and family life.

The right to freedom of opinion and expression

The right to freedom of opinion and expression is a qualified right and restrictions are justified if they are based in law, pursue a legitimate aim as listed in the ECHR or ICCPR and are proportionate. Expressions which shock, disturb or offend are protected but those which amount to hate speech, inciting to hatred, violence or discrimination are not.