Provisions of Freedom of Expression in International Law

17 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2022

Date Written: July 14, 2022


The right to freedom of opinion and expression has been protected in all the relevant international human rights treaties. In international law, freedom to express opinions and ideas is considered essential at both an individual level, and as it contributes to the overall development of a person, and is a foundation stone of democratic society. Free speech is a necessary precondition to the enjoyment of other rights, such as the right to vote, free assembly and freedom of association, and is essential to ensure press freedom. However, there is a clear and worrying global trend, including in the western democracies, like the USA and UK, of governments limiting vibrant discussions and debates within the civil society and among civil societies, political leaders and governments. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right of every citizen in the civilized world. It reflects the values of a democratic society. It has to be guaranteed in a constitution as a fundamental right of the people. It has also been rectified by UN convention (UDHR), European Convention, American Bill of Rights, and African Charters for providing the best environment for the people of the world internationally. The right to freedom of expression enjoys fairly broad protection in international law. However, since this right is not absolute, it must be balanced in consideration of other rights, notably the right to privacy and the right to non-discrimination. States have obligations to protect free speech, to protect the individual’s right to privacy, and to protect media workers from harm related to their line of work, as well as an obligation to restrict the freedom of expression in certain circumstances.

Keywords: Western Democracy, Judiciary, Democratic Society, Fundamental Rights, UDHR, USAID

Suggested Citation

Neupane, Madhusudan and Marasini, Shashi Nath, Provisions of Freedom of Expression in International Law (July 14, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Madhusudan Neupane (Contact Author)

Bajra International College ( email )

No Address Available, 3 977
9841698970 (Phone)

Shashi Nath Marasini


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