Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1585392
 


 



What is the Purpose of Freedom of Expression?


Jacob Weinrib


New York University School of Law

December 1, 2009

University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2009

Abstract:     
Since freedom of expression is a Charter right, its purpose (or purposes) must be understood in relation to the broader values of the Charter. This note considers whether the traditionally articulated purposes of freedom of expression actually cohere with the values of the Charter framework in which the right of freedom of expression arises. The Supreme Court of Canada conceives of freedom of expression as (1) an instrument for the realization of truth; (2) an instrument of democratic self-government; and (3) an aspect of self-realization or human dignity. The author finds that, of the purposes traditionally understood to underlie freedom of expression, only the dignity of persons relates the broader values of the Charter framework to the realm of expressive activity. The author formulates a dignity-based conception of freedom of expression, defends it from objections, presents its doctrinal implications, and applies it to a recent controversy between Maclean’s and the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Freedom of expression, hate speech, dignity, truth, democracy

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Date posted: April 7, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Weinrib, Jacob, What is the Purpose of Freedom of Expression? (December 1, 2009). University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1585392

Contact Information

Jacob Weinrib (Contact Author)
New York University School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
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