This guide offers a snapshot of the ways in which free speech can be constrained, and how these constraints work in practice. It is aimed at writers and designed to be practical and useful. It is not a comprehensive analysis of the law but a sketch of the legal landscape.
The guide follows the structure of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights:
- Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
Freedom To Write: A Users Guide looks at each of the justifications for restricting free speech and considers what they mean for writers. It covers everything from pornography to official secrecy, from racial hatred to super injunctions. It is hoped that this guide will give writers a sense of the protection that the law offers them, as well as its pitfalls and peculiarities.