Free speech, equality and diversity: the legitimacy of controlling content-based expression under the ECHR and in domestic law

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Abstract

This article will examine respective case law in free speech versus diversity with a view to identifying any clear and coherent free speech jurisprudence, principally posing the question how both domestic and European human rights law can maintain a distinction between diversity-critical speech that is simply offensive, and speech that is so damaging that it is legitimate to restrict it. In other words, it seeks to address, and, as far as possible, resolve a core liberal dilemma: the extent to which the law, and society, should tolerate intolerance and permit alternative (even offensive) plural expression, whilst preventing hateful or discriminatory speech, protecting vulnerable groups and promoting equality and diversity. For this purpose, it will seek to clarify and rationalise judicial guidance distinguishing between permissible and impermissible speech, and to identify ambiguities in that reasoning that may be in need of further clarification.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)102-118
Number of pages17
JournalCommunications Law
Volume28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • free speech
  • diversity
  • Proportionality

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