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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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Political Speech

Political Speech

(p.154) V Political Speech
Freedom of Speech


Oxford University Press

One important question is whether it is right to treat political speech as more worthy of protection than other types of speech. To some extent this entails arguments similar to the arguments related to according freedom of expression special protection against government interference. Some of those arguments do suggest that political speech should occupy what is referred to in American constitutional jurisprudence as a ‘preferred position’; courts should be less prepared to countenance abridgements of political and social discussion than they should restrictions on literature, pornography, or commercial advertising. The implications of this differential treatment can be explored in four areas of political speech that are discussed in this chapter: sedition and related offences, racist hate speech, blasphemy and incitement to religious hatred, and disclosure of official secrets.

Keywords:   political speech, freedom of speech, sedition, racist hate speech, blasphemy, religious hatred, laws, official secrets

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