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Freedom of Speech$
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Eric Barendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.001.0001

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The Scope of Freedom of Speech

The Scope of Freedom of Speech

(p.74) III The Scope of Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Speech


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the scope of the freedom of speech, that is, whether the freedom requires recognition of some positive rights to speak or of access to information, or whether it necessarily confers only immunities from state bans and other restrictions. Some hard cases for the application of a free speech provision are considered. One important issue concerns the regulation of election expenditure: should such regulation be regarded as a limit on the spending of money or on the dissemination of political speech? Other issues are whether freedom of speech covers a right not to speak and, more controversially, a right to exclude others from joining a parade or association engaged in speech. One issue is relatively clear: language rights are covered by freedom of speech. The chapter also discusses general arguments concerning the recognition of positive free speech rights; freedom of information; and whether freedom of speech limits government discretion in allocating grants, for example, by providing subsidies for the arts or research.

Keywords:   freedom of speech, immunities, language rights, access to information, government subsidies, money, corporate speech, sexually explicit conduct, flag desecration

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