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Freedom Of Expression



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  • Allen Buchanan and David Golove, ‘ The Philosophy of International Law, ‘ in the Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law. (J. Coleman and S. Shapiro, eds. 2002)
  • Baase "A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and the Internet, 3rd Edition"


  • 1. Freedom of Expression
    Megan O’Flynn
  • 2. What is a Human Right?
    “By definition, human rights are those moral entitlements that accrue to all persons, regardless of whether they are members of this or that particular policy, race, ethnicity, religion, or other social grouping.” – Allen Buchanan and David Golove
  • 3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
  • 4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    Article 19
    1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
    2. 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.
    3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
    (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
    (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
  • 5. Human Rights
    Different countries adhere to different standards of human rights
    Different clauses on accepting them for example
    Article 19, paragraph 2
    Ireland reserves the right to confer a monopoly on or require the licensing of broadcasting enterprises.
  • 6. Egypt
    The Egyptian government’s action is unprecedented in the history of the internet. Countries such as China, Iran, Thailand and Tunisia have cut off access to news websites and social networking services during periods of unrest, as Egypt did when it cut off Facebook and Twitter earlier this week.
    (North Korea has no internet access for the public)
    Complete censorship
  • 7. Egypt
    Signed article 19 in 1982
    “1. Articles of the 14 th chapter from article 171 to article 200 which impose jail penalty in broadly worded crimes such as “encouraging or tempting on coup against regime or on changing the fundamental principles of the constitution (art.174). discrimination against a certain sect of the people and disturbing the public peace (art.176), harming the social decorum (art.178), deforming the state reputation and bringing out unsuitable manifestations (art 178 bis.) humiliating state president (art.179),”
  • 8. China
    “When covering a sensitive story in China—like a natural disaster, a major industrial accident, or an official corruption case—print reporters must follow the lead of official sources before conducting interviews and publishing their result. Journalists now evade these guidelines by distributing and collecting information online, making it more difficult for propaganda bosses to silence sensitive stories.”
    “The most celebrated case to date is perhaps that of Liu Di - otherwise known by her Internet name "Stainless Steel Mouse" - a 22-year-old student at Beijing Normal University, who was detained in November 2002 after she posted politically sensitive articles on the Internet.”
    (mainly criticisms of renewed restrictions on Internet cafes, a plea for more freedom of expression on the Internet and - oh, yes - a satire of the Chinese Communist Party. )
    China has placed at least 63 cyber-dissidents in prison
  • 9. China
    Jasmine Revolution – People arrested before they got a chance to partake in a protest
    Viewed by government to be for the ‘greater good’
  • 10. Muhammedcartoons
    Global citizens
    Protected by Danish and German law
    Notion of accepting the ‘other’
    Confucian idea of travel as an essential component to being fully human
  • 11. The deontological point of view - Kant
    “Act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never as means only” (Kant, 1949, p.46)
    “An action done from duty derives its moral worth; not from the purpose which is to be attained by it, but from the maxim by which it is determined, and therefore does not depend on the realization of the object of the action, but merely on the principle of volition by which the action has taken place, without regard to any object of desire.” (Kant, 1949, p.20)
    Golden Rule
    Pro freedom of Expression – (lying to a murderer)
    “tends to emphasize duty and absolute rules, to be followed whether they lead to good or ill consequences.” (Sara Baase)
  • 12. Consequentialism - Utilitarianism
    “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied, than a pig satisfied.” Mill (Rule Utilitarian)
    Happiness through knowledge, free speech in turn promotes knowledge
    Rule utilitarianisms believe that there are two many variables involved to see what will amount to the greatest happiness
    Internet as a variable?
    Measuring Pleasure and Pain
  • 13. Consequentialism – Utilitarianism
    Greatest good for the greatest amount of people
    Should Hitler have been censored?
    How can we measure the consequences in new media
  • 14. Further Readings / Links
    Sara Baase "A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and the Internet, 3rd Edition"Prentice Hall | English | 2008-01-06 | ISBN: 0136008488 | 528 pages | PDF | 131 MB
  • 15. Further Readings / Links
    Is there a right to freedom of expression - Larry Alexander
    Code and moral values in cyberspace, Richard A. Spinello
    Freedom of Information as an Internationally Protected Human Right - Toby Mendel