freedom of expression
- (law) The right to express an opinion in public without being restrained or censored.
1950, Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, Kensington Publishing Corp., page 13; "On Freedom" (1940):
- This freedom of communication is indispensable for the development and extension of scientific knowledge, a consideration of much practical import. In the first instance it must be guaranteed by law. But laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population. Such an ideal of external liberty can never be fully attained but must be sought unremittingly if scientific thought, and philosophical and creative thinking in general, are to be advanced as far as possible.
1957, William O. Douglas, Roth v. United States, Supreme Court of the United States, page 354 U.S. 476, 512:
- Any test that turns on what is offensive to the community's standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they don’t like, provided the matter relates to "sexual impurity" or has a tendency "to excite lustful thoughts". This is community censorship in one of its worst forms. It creates a regime where in the battle between the literati and the Philistines, the Philistines are certain to win.
1969, Abe Fortas, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Supreme Court of the United States, page 393 U.S. 503:
- Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has provided as a safe haven for crackpots. The Constitution says that Congress (and the States) may not abridge the right to free speech. This provision means what it says.
1996, John S. Gibson, Dictionary of International Human Rights Law, Scarecrow Press, Inc., page 79:
- Strode's Act in the Parliament of 1512 was the first statute to protect such early freedom of expression, although limited to members of Parliament.
1997, David Robertson, A Dictionary of Human Rights, Europa Publications Limited, page 89:
- Freedom of expression is essentially another, and perhaps more accurate, way of referring to the composite of rights usually labelled freedom of speech.
1999, Frank Bealey, Allan G. Johnson, The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, page 137:
- freedom of expression — a group of the most important democratic rights. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press allow people to express their opinions and preferences and to communicate these to others. They allow criticism of those in power and and are basic to freedom to oppose the government. No authority can be sacred where freedom to criticize exists.
2002, Randal Marlin, Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion, Broadview Press, →ISBN, page 230:
- Any restrictions to freedom of expression will always open the door to possible others, because analogical reasoning can mount arguments showing why this or that class of objects is closely similar to those for which exceptions have been made.
2003, Mike Godwin, Cyber Rights, The MIT Press, →ISBN, page 2:
- The term free speech, which appears in this book's subtitle as well as in its text, is used more or less interchangeably with freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression to refer to all of the expressive rights guaranteed by the forty-five words of the First Amendment, as interpreted by the U.S. courts.
right to express an opinion in public