The Right to Freedom of Expression and the Right to be Safe

Focus: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life and security

Value: Integrity

Freedom of speech and expression is essential for democracy: once freedom of expression is lost, all other freedoms fall.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference from others, and to be able to search for, receive and share information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

In a democracy the people have a say in how the government is run. They do this by voting.

Governments may put limits on freedom of expression when the security of others is threatened such as in the case where individuals use expressions of hatred towards a person or group because of their race or because they are disabled for example. This is called hate speech.

They may also limit freedom of expression where people are being encouraged by the words of others to commit illegal acts. This is called incitement.

Learning Intention: I am learning about the right to freedom of expression and the right to be safe as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Success Criteria: I am aware that the language I use when discussing Palestine and Israel must be respectful and sensitive to the feelings of  others especially Muslim or Jewish people.

Freedom of Expression and the Right to be Safe

Freedom of expression is important in any democracy.

Once freedom of expression is lost, all other freedoms fall.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that you can:

  • Speak out and give your opinion.

     

  • Make decisions that affect your life.

     

  • Participate in decision making.

Limitations on Freedom of Expression

In certain circumstances, free speech can be limited by governments.

Freedom of expression can be limited to stop:

 

When governments limit freedom of expression they must show that it is necessary.

Used properly, limitations on freedom of expression help create a fair society for all of us.

When you study the conflict between Palestine and Israel, it is important to remember this and to adopt language and attitudes that are respectful and sensitive to the feelings of others, especially people of the Jewish or Muslim religions.

Definitions (Oxford dictionary)

Anti-Semitism: Hostility to or discrimination against Jews.

Islamophobia: Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

Activity 1

Activity 2

When studying a topic such as the conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is important to be aware of the language you use and the attitudes you take.

Can you think of some rules to help you respect the rights and opinions of others? You might want to start with a list of Dos and Don’ts.

Activity 3

“There should be no laws to limit freedom of speech.”

Working in pairs, consider the above statement and write down:

  • 2 points that agree with the statement

  • 2 points that disagree

Join with another pair and compare and discuss points, adding any new ideas to your list.