Freedom of expression or speech is widely held to be both a moral right and a legal right. John Milton (1608–1674) defended it in Britain in the seventeenth century, and the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights (1791) made it part of the First Amendment. Almost every modern constitution and international protocol regarding human rights recognizes freedom of expression. Yet, the justifications for and the contours of freedom of speech are much mooted. Moreover, there are some, even in liberal democracies, who deny this freedom special importance while others deny its coherence as a concept.

The Scope of Freedom of Speech: What is “Speech”?

Freedom of speech surely covers more than spoken language. For example, no one disputes that it covers written language as well, and if so, ...

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