Free Speech Today

Polish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 33 (2013), pp. 129-144

22 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014

Date Written: July 28, 2014


The article is an amended version of the Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture presented at Warsaw University in 2014. It discusses the contemporary meaning of the right to free expression, concentrating on the basic principles of free speech as well as the limits of the right. In this context, the article pays special attention to British, Polish and European practice (particularly with respect to cases that are relevant for Poland). The specific topics tackled by the author include: free speech and the problem of criminalization of certain acts (e.g. the offence of defamation of public officials), hate speech, freedom of expression and the right of an individual to protect his or her good reputation (including the issue of libel laws), freedom of expression and the right to privacy (including the right to prior restraint on publication), free speech and internet, and the right to privacy versus national security.

Keywords: freedom of speech, human right, European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, European Convention on Human Rights, defamation, hate speech

JEL Classification: K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Lester, Anthony, Free Speech Today (July 28, 2014). Polish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 33 (2013), pp. 129-144 , Available at SSRN: or

Anthony Lester (Contact Author)

Blackstone Chambers ( email )

London EC4Y 9BW
United Kingdom

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