The OSCE considers freedom of expression a fundamental human right. This freedom may only be limited in order to safeguard other basic rights, such as human dignity, for a very good reason: freedom of expression is the foundation for other human rights, especially freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly as well as academic freedom. Without the freedom to voice opinions publicly and freely receive information, all other freedoms would not exist.
The side event addressed the constitutional implementation of freedom of expression in the OSCE region. The primary focus will be on the treatment of freedom of expression as a negative and individual right, which with respect to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UNDHR) can only be granted to humans. Competing concepts of group rights as well as hate speech and blasphemy laws will be considered in light of the UNDHR and individual rights.