"FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN POLITICAL SPEECH" Online event, Geneva | 28-29 April 2022
According to the European Convention on Human Rights, « Everyone has the right to freedom of expression”, even though the exercise of this freedom, “since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.
Political Actors are part of the very fabric of democratic societies.
This online event, organized with the support of the Council of Europe, will discuss the specificities of the exercise of the freedom of expression in political speech. Is it broader or more constrained than the freedom of expression of ordinary citizens?
Register here: Berfin.Acig@etu.unige.ch
FIRST PANEL – THE IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL EXPRESSION FOR DEMOCRACY
Freedom of expression covers speech that can disturb or even shock. Are there any special features in terms of the freedom of expression of politicians or of candidates in an election? In this context, what is the role of parliamentary immunity, of obligations or oaths of respect for the protection of the constitutional order?
SECOND PANEL – LIMITS TO THE FREEDOM OF POLITICAL SPEECH
What are the limits of political speech in a democratic society, particularly in terms of hate speech, calls for violence, denial of crimes against humanity (Holocaust), calls to overthrow the constitutional order, glorification of crime – including terrorism? Are there any limits imposed by law on political discourse? Are there ethical obligations or good democratic practices in this area? Is there an ethical obligation to respect the independence of certain public institutions or the press? Are the rights and limits the same for elected officials and activists or candidates?
THIRD PANEL – LIMITS TO LIMITATIONS ON POLITICAL SPEECH
Possible restrictions on freedom of expression are limited in most constitutional and international instruments protecting human rights. How are these conditions assessed, for example, in cases of "insults", "propaganda", “blasphemy”, calls to overthrow the constitutional order or secession? Is the case of the spread of "fake news" a special case allowing restrictions to be envisaged (is the situation in this area the same for elected officials as for activists or candidates)?
FOURTH PANEL - HOW TO ASSESS AND JUSTIFY THE EFFECTS ON A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY OF LIMITATIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN POLITICAL SPEECH?
How to assess the proportionality of the sanctions that can be imposed? How can the impact on freedom of expression and the functioning of democratic institutions of the use of criminal or civil prosecution of politicians be assessed? Could we consider a more constructive alternative to legal sanctions?
Moderator : Dr. Frédéric Esposito University of Geneva