EHRC issues guidance on freedom of expression
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new legal guidance on freedom of expression.
Following the recent Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, there has been considerable debate both nationally and internationally about free speech. The new guidance aims to help address ‘muddle and misunderstanding’ around specific areas of Britain’s laws on freedom of expression, says the EHRC.
The guidance explains there are legitimate ways the state restrains what people can say but the test for curtailing freedom of expression in law is a stringent one, and much that is offensive is still legal.
Freedom of expression can however be restricted in certain circumstances, the gu For example, where it incites violence against others or promotes hatred based on the colour of someone’s skin or their sexual orientation or their religion.
Chief Executive Mark Hammond said: “The recent tragic events in Paris have again highlighted the importance of freedom of expression in our society. We have a long history of debating free speech in this country and the law recognises its value and importance.
“Today’s guidance aims to address any muddle and misunderstanding about the law. What goes beyond causing offence and promotes hatred is sometimes a fine line and the source of intense debate. As an expert body and National Human Rights Institution, we hope we can play an important role in helping public bodies to understand and navigate this complex area.”
Download the guidance in full here.
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