Why is freedom of expression considered so important?
One intellectual’s view
The Oxford academic Timothy Garton Ash has created a very useful website that proposes and defends key principles around freedom of expression. These are basically in line with international human rights law, but he expresses them in a less legalistic and more accessible way. The full list of his principles is here, but let’s focus on just two:
We – all human beings – must be free and able to express ourselves, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, regardless of frontiers.” – Read his justification here.
We require and create open, diverse media so we can make well-informed decisions and participate fully in political life.” – Read his justification here.
One comedian’s serious view
Here is Rowan “Mr Bean” Atkinson explaining the importance of freedom of expression. His country, the United Kingdom, is a liberal democracy that treats this right seriously – but not seriously enough, Atkinson points out.