Freedom of speech

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ESSAY WRITING

Miss Hélène EVRARD

SUBJECT: Should there be limits to freedom of speech?

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Table Of Contents

Table Of Contents ................................................................................................ 2

Introduction .......................................................................................................... 3

I. Free Speech: A DemocraticValue ............................................................ 4

A Definition ................................................................................................ 4

B A Fundamental Protected Freedom ...................................................... 5

II. Free Speech: A Limited Value ................................................................... 6

A A JustifiedLimitation ............................................................................. 6

B Two Adversarial Principles of Delimitation ......................................... 8

Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 13

Bibliography....................................................................................................... 14

Web Sites ............................................................................................................ 14

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Introduction
« If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear. » Georges Orwell

The notion of free speech is sensitive and controversial since it forms the heart of a complicatedweb composed by several rights and liberties. A striking event is the publication in 2006 of Danish cartoons1 of the Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim community considered it very unpleasant leading to an outrage against it. The protests lead to an international debate due to the re-publication of the cartoons across the world. In United Kingdom, the British Medias judged it was better not to publishthem given the balance between the publication and the furiosity of the protesting Muslims. They thought this would very likely have meant more destruction. It would have caused pain to many British Muslims who can consider this as contempt towards their religion. This kind of self-censorship can not be generalised to say that freedom of speech should have some limits when it deals with religiousspeech. If I take the French example, the newspaper Charlie Hebdo have been brought before the court on the ground of racial verbal abuse having published the same cartoons. Those responsible for this newspaper were discharged on the 22nd of March 2007 because the re-publication of the cartoons was not against Muslims but against the fundamentalism. These events have once again brought to light theongoing dispute between freedom of speech and Press liberty. This kind of opposition is not isolated and makes free speech a hot issue; its antagonism with other rights or liberties could limit it. In fact, there is a competition of values since we have to cope with a continuous struggle between the need of liberty and the need of authority; both are linked. THIS
LIMIT THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.IS WHY WE MAY ASK IF WE SHOULD

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In the newspaper Jyllands-Posten

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Even if the freedom of speech is fundamental (I), it has to be limited (II).

I. Free Speech: A Democratic Value

What do we exactly mean by free speech (A) and why is it fundamental (B)?

A Definition

The freedom of speech is the right of people to receive and transmit all kinds of information andthoughts, be it oral or written. For instance it can be the search and reception of information, indeed as human beings we need to know the world around us to understand each other and to survive. Hence there should be freedom to think, have our own mind and views on any kind of topic to create our convictions on the information obtained. This has to be free from any constraints or influences. If this...
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