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Political Rights Under Stress in 21st Century Europe$
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Wojciech Sadurski

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296033.001.0001

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Freedom of Expression in Political Contexts: Some Reflections on the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights

Freedom of Expression in Political Contexts: Some Reflections on the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights

Chapter:
(p.84) 3 Freedom of Expression in Political Contexts: Some Reflections on the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights
Source:
Political Rights Under Stress in 21st Century Europe
Author(s):

Victor Ferreres Comella

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296033.003.0004

In its case law concerning freedom of expression, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has linked this right both to collective and to individual interests. It has held that freedom of expression is ‘one of the basic conditions for the progress of democratic societies and for the development of each individual’. When speech relates to political matters, however, the collective aspect needs to be emphasized. The proper functioning of the democratic process requires that citizens can offer and receive information about, and exchange opinions about, public issues. As the ECHR has said, ‘freedom of political debate is at the very core of the concept of a democratic society which prevails throughout the Convention’. Finally, it is important to emphasize that, in a democracy, judicial decisions are and should be criticized, not only by experts on narrow technical grounds, but also by politicians, the media, and ordinary citizens, in the light of general standards of justice.

Keywords:   case law, freedom of expression, European Court of Human Rights, democracy, justice, judicial decisions, political debate

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