Freedom of expression

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference from others and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers. In daily living, this fundamental human right is frequently restricted by a range of different tactics including censorship, restrictive press and media legislation, and harassment of journalists, bloggers, and others who express their opinions, as well as crackdowns on religious minorities and other suppressions of religious freedom.

Freedom of expression

Related topics

Press freedom

What is freedom of expression?

It is the most important part of any democracy; it is a fundamental human right that goes hand in hand with the other rights that allow us to express our ideas and thoughts on a given issue.

About freedom of expression

It is part of the human rights of people protected by the 1948 Universal Declaration and by the laws of democratic states. Freedom of expression is the right of all human beings to be able to express themselves without being harassed or persecuted because of what they think and believe.

It is important to know that the right to freedom of expression is not absolute, this is because national legislation generally prohibits a person from inciting violence or crime through their thoughts, from discriminating, and from encouraging hatred or war. In a country, whatever it may be, and which enjoys freedom of expression, it is prohibited to promote racial rejection or to encourage murder.


The main characteristics of freedom of expression are as follows:


Some of the antecedents that gave rise to freedom of expression as a right are:


Historically, freedom of expression has been guaranteed as a human right recently. Former rulers accepted it only if it did not threaten their own power or the religious authority of their priests. Even the relatively free society of Athens killed its best philosopher, Socrates, for expressing ideas he considered unacceptable.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the right to freedom of expression is recent, and in religions such as Islam, it is basically forbidden. In the West, the Catholic Church had the power of expression until the Protestant Reformation ended the Church’s monopoly on truth, giving Christians the right to interpret Scripture more freely.

In the 17th century, John Locke said that the proper function of the state is to guarantee the human rights of its people. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was inspired by religious tolerance and freedom of expression in religious affairs. In 1776, the U.S. Declaration of Independence affirmed the Lockian principle that the function of government is to protect freedom as a human right given not by the state but by God.

The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted on August 26, 1789, declared that all citizens could speak, write, and print freely, but that they were also responsible for abuses of this freedom. After the Second World War, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression.

Objectives of freedom of expression

The objectives of freedom of expression are as follows


The advantages of freedom of expression are:


Being a means of expression in which ideas come to light, the following disadvantages can be presented:


Freedom of expression is important because it is one of the most important pillars that must exist within a democracy, because without it, it would not be possible to say that democracy reigns in a given place. It is the main weapon so that, the different social groups that make up a State can give their opinions and debate peacefully on some topics of interest.

Without freedom of expression, the entire people would be repressed and could not defend themselves against the decisions that the government might make, expression would be prohibited, and society would probably end up in a revolution.

Phrases on freedom of expression

Some phrases that have been mentioned in support of freedom of expression are the following:

Freedom of expression by country


Some examples of freedom of expression are as follows:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Freedom of expression. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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