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Freedom of expression and the media

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  1. Introduction
  2. Media under article 10
  3. Media coverage of political affairs
  4. Media and court proceedings
  5. Media and privacy
  6. Conclusion

There is a general consent that free speech is a good thing. Countries without it are undemocratic, not protecting individual rights. Media has encouraged the exchange of ideas; social networks have helped free speech. Judges who have to decide on free speech cases will try to balance this right with public interest. There can be direct clashes with individual rights such as privacy or reputation. There is a problem with blasphemy, obscene expression, pornography, racist speech: do we have to repress them all or just a narrow category?

This problem of balancing the right to free speech and all these individual rights arises in many situations, but especially in media.
Also, there is a question about the status of journalists: do we have to treat them as a media or as a person?

?The free speech theory.

Two theories can justify free speech:
Instrumental theories or deontological theories:
-Instrumental theories: Mills and the pursuit of truth, the marketplace of ideas, speech and democracy
-Deontological theories: expression and autonomy (Thomas Scanlon). Provides a basis for the protection if rights of individuals whose speech may not be valued under a more instrumental conception of expression (eg expression by young children might be difficult to accommodate with the instrumental theory)

[...] The margin of appreciation is perhaps best understood as the degree of discretion states enjoy. It is recognised as applying both to the legislature and to bodies, judicial and others that are called to interpret and apply the laws in force. ? Polemic speech under article 10: ? Lingens v. Austria 1986: The ECHR decided that there was a strong presumption in favour of freedom of expression. Two articles were accusing the Austrian Chancellor of having helped individuals from Nazi groups. [...]


[...] Freedom of expression and the media There is a general consent that free speech is a good thing. Countries without it are undemocratic, not protecting individual rights. Media has encouraged the exchange of ideas; social networks have helped free speech. Judges who have to decide on free speech cases will try to balance this right with public interest. There can be direct clashes with individual rights such as privacy or reputation. There is a problem with blasphemy, obscene expression, pornography, racist speech: do we have to repress them all or just a narrow category? [...]


[...] While freedom of expression was important, it was not an absolute right. ECHR found to allow for the law of contempt (because not incompatible with article 10). The restraint was only temporary. ? DPP v. Independent Newspapers 2003: an individual was charged with the murder of his sister. He was kept in custody. The day after sentencing, the Herald published a number of articles about him, the nature of the assault, how she died, and information from the post-mortem examination of the decease... [...]

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