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Cover Human Rights Law Directions

17. Article 10: freedom of expression  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 10, one of the fundamental rights acknowledged in a liberal, democratic society—freedom of expression. Article 10 is a qualified right which reflects the idea that there can be important and legitimate reasons as to why freedom of expression may need to be restricted in order to protect other important rights and freedoms. While the first paragraph of Article 10 establishes a general right to freedom of expression, its second paragraph identifies the only bases upon which the right can be restricted. Restriction of the freedom of expression is subject to scrutiny by the courts, and its necessity must be established by the state. In particular the chapter discusses human rights in the context of political speech and the impact of restraints on hate speech.