Punishing/Protecting Expression

Sure… there may be a right to freedom of expression assured in your country’s constitution … and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 19 may say that we all have such a right.  

But, obviously, different nations interpret that differently. 

When do we have a right to have our expression (speech, writing, assembly, association, imagery) protected? When do governments have a legitimate reason to regulate or punish expression?

What techniques get used?

One way to look at it is to ask yourself what kind of specific advice you’d give as a consultant if you were advising a government that either wanted to expand protection for expression or restrict expression. History gives us some clues.  Here’s a .pdf sketch I sometimes use in law courses to summarize techniques for either expanding freedom of expression or limiting it: Repressing Voice Sketch

Another way to understand this is to look at the various judicial burdens of proof that can be created to either protect or punish expression. The continuum runs from placing NO burden of proof on the executive or legislative branch when it seeks to restrict expression to ABSOLUTELY protecting expression. Here’s a sketch of how that can work: Speech Protection Sketch

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Advocating LGBT justice and equality