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News and Media: Free speech


Free speech or freedom of speech is the right to express any opinions without censorship or suppression. 

Freedom of speech should be respected and this is emphasised by the The European Convention of Human Rights.

Free speech and freedom of expression can be restricted if it relates to hate speech and incitement. 


What the law says about free speech and expression


Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998: Freedom of expression

1. 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.


2. 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 rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary (

Source: Human Rights Act 1998 (

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