Portal:Freedom of Speech
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Portal:Freedom of Speech

Introduction

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1949)--Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term "freedom of expression" is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".

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The 2009 awarding ceremony inside the Parliament's Strasbourg hemicycle
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought. A shortlist of nominees is drawn up by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Development Committee, with the winner announced in October. As of 2010, the prize is accompanied by a monetary award of EUR50,000. The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko. The most recent award, in 2011, was given to five representatives of the Arab Spring--Asmaa Mahfouz, Ahmed al-Senussi, Razan Zaitouneh, Ali Farzat, and Mohamed Bouazizi--for their contributions to "historic changes in the Arab world". The prize has also been awarded to different organisations throughout its history, the first being the Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992). The Sakharov Prize is usually awarded annually on or around 10 December, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, also celebrated as Human Rights Day.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Spanish politicians Rosa Díez and Esperanza Aguirre at a tribute event for Payá.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (29 February 1952 - 22 July 2012) was a Cuban political activist. A Roman Catholic, he founded the Christian Liberation Movement in 1987 to oppose the one-party rule of the Cuban Communist Party. He attracted international attention for organizing a petition drive known as the Varela Project, in which 25,000 signatories petitioned the Cuban government to guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as well as to institute a multi-party democracy. In recognition of his work, he received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and People in Need's Homo Homini Award. On 22 July 2012, he died in a car crash under controversial circumstances. The Cuban government stated that the driver had lost control of the vehicle and collided with a tree, while Payá's children and one of the car's passengers asserted that the car had been deliberately run off of the road.

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Paul Klebnikov

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Richard Henry Lee
-- Richard Henry Lee, (The Federal Farmer, 4th letter, October 15, 1787)

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