Is Freedom of Expression a Universal Right?

18 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013

See all articles by Larry Alexander

Larry Alexander

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: April 2013


In this piece I shall argue that although there is a core of shared understanding of what a right of freedom of expression must entail, I am doubtful that there is a nonconventional principle of freedom of expression that can justify that core or extensions beyond it. From my perspective, freedom of expression, if it is to be a right, must be justified instrumentally and elaborated by establishing conventions to demarcate its scope, conventions which will be most tenable if culturally and historically relative.

Keywords: freedom of expression, control regulation, free speech

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Lawrence, Is Freedom of Expression a Universal Right? (April 2013). San Diego Law Review, 2013; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 13-110. Available at SSRN:

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

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