Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment. The right is preserved in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is granted formal recognition by the laws of most nations. Nonetheless the degree to which the right is upheld in practice varies greatly from one nation to another. In many nations, particularly those with authoritarian forms of government, overt government censorship is enforced. Censorship has also been claimed to occur in other forms see propaganda model and there are different approaches to issues such as hate speech , obscenity , and defamation laws. The following list is partially composed of the respective countries' government claims and does not necessarily reflect the de facto situation. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Technically, as a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly rather than a treaty, it is not legally binding in its entirety on members of the UN. Furthermore, whilst some of its provisions are considered to form part of customary international law , there is dispute as to which. Freedom of speech is granted unambiguous protection in international law by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which is binding on around nations. In adopting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Australia and the Netherlands insisted on reservations to Article 19 insofar as it might be held to affect their systems of regulating and licensing broadcasting. The majority of African constitutions provide legal protection for freedom of speech, with the extent and enforcement varying from country to country. In light of South Africa 's racial and discriminatory history, particularly the Apartheid era, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of precludes expression that is tantamount to the advocacy of hatred based on some listed grounds. Section 16 makes the following provisions:. In , the South African Constitutional Court set an international precedent in the case of Laugh It Off Promotions CC v South African Breweries International when it found that the small culture jamming company Laugh-it-Off's right to freedom of expression outweighs the protection of trademark of the world's second largest brewery. Blasphemy against religion is illegal in Sudan under Blasphemy laws. Freedom of speech is a controversial issue and a subject of uncertainty in Tunisia. Artists, journalists, and citizens face harassment when they try to express their ideas freely. There is also a lack of experience and traditions with free speech on the part of Tunisian justice and judges following the Tunisian revolution. On 13 June Tunisian Rapper, Alaa Yacoubi aka "Weld El 15" , was imprisoned and given a two-year jail sentence because his song "El boulisia Kleb" "Cops Are Dogs" was considered an incitement to violence and hatred. The court judgement was the subject of an appeal and the decision was announced for 2 July , while Alaa Yaacoubi remains in prison. Several Asian countries provide formal legal guarantees of freedom of speech to their citizens. These are not, however, implemented in practice in some countries. They include the use of brutal force in cracking down on bloggers in Burma , Vietnam and Cambodia , Les Majeste in Thailand , the use of libel and internal security laws in Singapore and Malaysia , and the killing of journalists in the Philippines. Bangladesh constitution states that:. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech to every citizen, but itself allows significant but specific restrictions. In India , citizens are free to criticize government, politics, politicians, bureaucracy and policies. There have been landmark cases in the Indian Supreme Court that have affirmed the nation's policy of allowing free press and freedom of expression to every citizen, with other cases in which the Court has upheld restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press. Article 19 of the Indian constitution states that:. Freedom of speech is also restricted by Section A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with sedition and makes any speech or expression which brings contempt towards government punishable by imprisonment extending from three years to life. Blasphemy against Islam is illegal in Iran. According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran Chapter 3 Article 27 Public gatherings and marches are allowed so long as the participants do not carry arms and are not in violation of the fundamental principles of Islam. According to the Press Freedom Index for , Iran ranked th out of nations. Only three other countries — Eritrea , North Korea , and Turkmenistan - had more restrictions on news media freedom than Iran. On September 8, , Reporters Without Borders expressed concern about the continuing detention and repression of journalists in Iran, and warned for the journalists and reporters who have been arrested for their activities and subjected to harassment. The Supreme Court of Israel Levi v. Southern District Police Commander ruled that:. The right of demonstration and procession is a fundamental human right in Israel.
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