Freedom of speech

Alon Harel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Freedom of speech is among the most cherished constitutional rights in liberal democracies. It is entrenched in most contemporary constitutions as well as in international human rights treaties. It is often classified as a “first generation right”—a right protecting individuals from interference by the state. It is understood to be foundational to liberal polities either in the sense that it is a precondition to the existence of a liberal polity and/or that it is tightly related to liberal values such as autonomy, dignity and liberty. At the same time, the scope of what constitutes speech, what speech ought to be protected, the weight or the value attributed to the protection of speech vis-à-vis other rights or policy concerns, and the reasons underlying its protection are highly controversial. These controversies have important political and legal implications and they are reflected in the differential protection granted to speech in different jurisdictions.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781136344954
ISBN (Print)9780415878180
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012, 2015 Taylor & Francis.


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