Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Freedom of Expression Related Abstracts

5 Freedom of Information and Freedom of Expression

Authors: Amin Pashaye Amiri

Abstract:

Freedom of information, according to which the public has a right to have access to government-held information, is largely considered as a tool for improving transparency and accountability in governments, and as a requirement of self-governance and good governance. So far, more than ninety countries have recognized citizens’ right to have access to public information. This recognition often took place through the adoption of an act referred to as “freedom of information act”, “access to public records act”, and so on. A freedom of information act typically imposes a positive obligation on a government to initially and regularly release certain public information, and also obliges it to provide individuals with information they request. Such an act usually allows governmental bodies to withhold information only when it falls within a limited number of exemptions enumerated in the act such as exemptions for protecting privacy of individuals and protecting national security. Some steps have been taken at the national and international level towards the recognition of freedom of information as a human right. Freedom of information was recognized in a few countries as a part of freedom of expression, and therefore, as a human right. Freedom of information was also recognized by some international bodies as a human right. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in 2006 that Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which concerns the human right to freedom of expression, protects the right of all people to request access to government information. The European Court of Human Rights has recently taken a considerable step towards recognizing freedom of information as a human right. However, in spite of the measures that have been taken, public access to government information is not yet widely accepted as an international human right. The paper will consider the degree to which freedom of information has been recognized as a human right, and study the possibility of widespread recognition of such a human right in the future. It will also examine the possible benefits of such recognition for the development of the human right to free expression.

Keywords: Human Rights, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Expression, government information

Procedia PDF Downloads 408
4 Religio-Cultural Ethos and Mental Health

Authors: Haveesha Buddhdev

Abstract:

The most important right for a human being in a society is the freedom of expression as stated by Article 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights pledged by member states of United Nations. Will it be fair to expect him/her to be of sound mental health if this right is taken away? Religion as a primary social institution controls many rights, freedoms and duties of people in a society. It does so by imposing certain values and beliefs on people which would either enhance quality of life or curb their freedom adversely thus affecting individual mental health. This paper aims to study the positive and negative role that religion plays in influencing one’s freedom of expression. This paper will focus on reviewing existing studies on the positive and negative impacts of religion on mental health. It will also contain data collected by the researcher about the impacts of religion on freedom of expression which will be obtained by surveying a sample of 30 adolescents and young adults. The researcher will use a Likert scale for these purpose, with response options ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree and quantify it accordingly. Descriptive statistics would be used to analyse the data. Such research would help to identify possible problems faced by adolescents and young adults when it comes to religio-cultural ethos and also facilitate further researches to study the role that religion plays in mental health.

Keywords: Social Science, Adolescent Mental Health, Freedom of Expression, cultural Ethos

Procedia PDF Downloads 311
3 Freedom of Expression and Its Restriction in Audiovisual Media

Authors: Sevil Yildiz

Abstract:

Audio visual communication is a type of collective expression. Collective expression activity informs the masses, gives direction to opinions and establishes public opinion. Due to these characteristics, audio visual communication must be subjected to special restrictions. This has been stipulated in both the Constitution and the European Human Rights Agreement. This paper aims to review freedom of expression and its restriction in audio visual media. For this purpose, the authorisation of the Radio and Television Supreme Council to impose sanctions as an independent administrative authority empowered to regulate the field of audio visual communication has been reviewed with regard to freedom of expression and its limits.

Keywords: Freedom of Expression, audio visual media, its limits, radio and television supreme council

Procedia PDF Downloads 159
2 Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana: Progressive Steps by the Botswana Court of Appeal towards Recognition and Advancement of Fundamental Human Rights of the Most Vulnerable within Society

Authors: Tashwill Esterhuizen

Abstract:

Throughout Africa, several countries continue to have laws which criminalise same-sex sexual activities, which increases the vulnerability of the LGBT community to stigma, discrimination, and persecution. These criminal provisions often form the basis upon which states deny LGBT activists the right to freely associate with other like-minded individuals and form organizations that protect their interests and advocate for the rights and aspirations of the LGBT community. Over the past year, however, there has been significant progress in the advancement of universal, fundamental rights of LGBT persons throughout Africa. In many instances, these advancements came about through the bravery of activists who have publically insisted (in environments where same-sex sexual practices are criminalised) that their rights should be respected. Where meaningful engagement with the State was fruitless, activists took their plight to the judiciary and have successfully sought to uphold the fundamental rights of LGBT persons, paving the way for a more inclusive and tolerant society. Litigation Progress: Botswana is a prime example. For several years, the State denied a group of LGBT activists their right to freely associate and form their organisation Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), which aimed to promote the interests of the LGBT community in Botswana. In March 2016, the Botswana Court of Appeal found that the government’s refusal to register LEGABIBO violated the activists’ right to associate freely. The Court held that the right freedom of association applies to all persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It does not matter that the views of the organisation are unpopular or unacceptable amongst the majority. In particular, the Court rejected the government of Botswana’s contention that registering LEGABIBO would disturb public peace and is contrary to public morality. Quite remarkably, the Court of Appeal recognised that while LGBT individuals are a minority group within the country, they are nonetheless persons entitled to constitutional protections of their dignity, regardless of whether they are unacceptable to others on religious or any other grounds. Furthermore, the Court held that human rights and fundamental freedoms are granted to all, including criminals or social outcasts because the denial of an individual’s humanity is the denial of their human dignity. This is crucial observation by the Court of Appeal, as once it is accepted that human rights apply to all human beings, then it becomes much easier for vulnerable groups to assert their own rights. Conclusion: The Botswana Court of Appeal decision, therefore, represents significant progress in the promotion of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The judgment has broader implications for many other countries which do not provide recognition of sexual minorities. It highlights the State’s duty to uphold basic rights and to ensure dignity, tolerance, and acceptance for marginalised persons.

Keywords: Tolerance, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Inclusive, Freedom of association, Freedom of Expression, acceptance, progress, fundamental rights and freedoms, human rights are universal, inherent human dignity

Procedia PDF Downloads 130
1 A Comparative Analysis on the Impact of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill of 2016 on the Rights to Human Dignity, Equality, and Freedom in South Africa

Authors: Tholaine Matadi

Abstract:

South Africa is a democratic country with a historical record of racially-motivated marginalisation and exclusion of the majority. During the apartheid era the country was run along pieces of legislation and policies based on racial segregation. The system held a tight clamp on interracial mixing which forced people to remain in segregated areas. For example, a citizen from the Indian community could not own property in an area allocated to white people. In this way, a great majority of people were denied basic human rights. Now, there is a supreme constitution with an entrenched justiciable Bill of Rights founded on democratic values of social justice, human dignity, equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. The Constitution also enshrines the values of non-racialism and non-sexism. The Constitutional Court has the power to declare unconstitutional any law or conduct considered to be inconsistent with it. Now, more than two decades down the line, despite the abolition of apartheid, there is evidence that South Africa still experiences hate crimes which violate the entrenched right of vulnerable groups not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, occupation, or disability. To remedy this mischief parliament has responded by drafting the Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. The Bill has been disseminated for public comment and suggestions. It is intended to combat hate crimes and hate speech based on sheer prejudice. The other purpose of the Bill is to bring South Africa in line with international human rights instruments against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related expressions of intolerance identified in several international instruments. It is against this backdrop that this paper intends to analyse the impact of the Bill on the rights to human dignity, equality, and freedom. This study is significant because the Bill was highly contested and creates a huge debate. This study relies on a qualitative evaluative approach based on desktop and library research. The article recurs to primary and secondary sources. For comparative purpose, the paper compares South Africa with countries such as Australia, Canada, Kenya, Cuba, and United Kingdom which have criminalised hate crimes and hate speech. The finding from this study is that despite the Bill’s expressed positive intentions, this draft legislation is problematic for several reasons. The main reason is that it generates considerable controversy mostly because it is considered to infringe the right to freedom of expression. Though the author suggests that the Bill should not be rejected in its entirety, she notes the brutal psychological effect of hate crimes on their direct victims and the writer emphasises that a legislature can succeed to combat hate-crimes only if it provides for them as a separate stand-alone category of offences. In view of these findings, the study recommended that since hate speech clauses have a negative impact on freedom of expression it can be promulgated, subject to the legislature enacting the Prevention and Combatting of Hate-Crimes Bill as a stand-alone law which criminalises hate crimes.

Keywords: Hate Crimes, Freedom of Expression, Human Dignity, hate speech

Procedia PDF Downloads 21