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Right to Freedom of Expression

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Right to Freedom of Expression:

This right has been identified as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR). The main features of this act are:

1. It protects the right of every citizen to hold opinions without interference.

2. It gives freedom to seek, receive, and impart information regardless of frontiers.

3.According to this act information can be distributed through any media of an individual's choice. To name some of the forms of media, there is print media, internet and the information can also be shared amongst the masses orally.

But with privilege also comes responsibilities and duties to avoid the illegitimate use of powers provided by this right.


Restrictions on Freedom of Expression:

According to article 51A, certain acts should not be performed by an individual and they are as follows:

1. Disparaging the constitution, national flag and national anthem.

2. Undermining the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.

3. Disrupting the spirit of common brotherhood.

4. Insulting the rich heritage of India.

Furthermore, article 19(2) provides the power to the government to impose reasonable restrictions in case of riots, unlawful assembly etc.

Also, sections 292 and 294 prohibits the sale, distribution or exhibition of obscene words in public places.


Bases of Restrictions:

1. To avoid the spread of negative motivation amongst the masses which may result in violent crimes and pose a threat to the security of the state.

2.To prohibit the jeopardising of good relations with the foreign states.

3.To maintain law and order amongst the public.

4.To protect the moral values of the nation. morality varies from time to time and place to place.

5.Restrictions have to be put on this right if it exceeds the reasonable limits and leads to contempt of the court.

6. To avoid the exposing of a man to the feeling of hatred, ridicule and contempt

7.To control the conditions if this right starts to be taken as a right to commit an offence by some criminals.

8. If it disturbs the peace and leads to ignorant people subverting the government then restrictions have to be put on this right.


Importance:

1.This right helps find the truth which is mutually accepted by the majority of the society as that truth is the result of open discussion and presentation of views of both for as well as against the motion of the topic.

2.Communication is a conduit of democracy and this right gives the power to do the same. It not only gives the voice to the majority but also provides the opportunity to hold and present their opinions to the minority.

3. Right to freedom of opinion helps in sustaining the autonomy and self-fulfilment of individuals. It helps in taking every citizen's opinion while taking a decision.


Conclusion:

The right to freedom of expression is one of those rights which do not let democracy fade away from a nation as it plays a very vital role in not only providing a privilege to the citizens to hold opinions but also present their views through various forms of media. this right is majorly connected to media. It helps in maintaining and peaceful environment and friendly relations on international and interstate levels, at last, I would like to conclude with a quote which I truly believe in "I

disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".


More Info:- https://globalfreedomofexpression.columbia.edu/cases/thappar-v-madras/#:~:text=Case%20Summary%20and%20Outcome&text=Romesh%20Thappar%20filed%20a%20petition,public%20safety%E2%80%9D%20was%20too%20broad

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1256541/

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1276331/

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