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Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

18. Freedom of expression  

This chapter focuses on some of the laws relating to freedom of expression in the UK. Freedom of expression is widely considered to be a necessary feature in any democratic state. The chapter considers the extent to which restrictions are placed on the freedom of expression in the UK in two particular contexts. It considers laws for the control of obscenity and indecency, the publication of obscene matter, the test of obscenity, defences, powers of search and seizure, and the possession of pornographic images. The discussion also considers that part of the law of contempt of court which relates to restricting the ability of the media to report court proceedings. This chapter is confined to the law relating to obscenity and indecency and contempt of court on the basis that they share the important characteristic of being regulated by both statute and the common law.