Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Foreign Legal Instruments and Case Law

International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights, Article 20(2)

This provision of the ICCPR provides that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. 

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Malcolm Ross V. Canada, CCPR/C/70/D/736/1997 (Human Rights Committee)

The case involved a schoolteacher who was suspended by the School Board and transferred to a non–teaching position for expressing radical religious and anti-Semitic views in public, on the ground that his writings created a “poisoned atmosphere” in the classroom. The Committee dismissed the complaint, finding that the actions of the School Board were in conformity with Article 20 of the ICCPR and as such, no violation of Article 19 of the ICCPR was made out.

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Brandenburg V. Ohio, (1969) 395 US 444 (U.S. Supreme Court)

The case was brought by the appellant, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, who had been convicted under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism statute, challenging the legislation as being in violation of his First Amendment rights. Allowing the appeal, the Court held that “freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

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Sürek And Özdemir V. Turkey, [1999] ECHR 50

Speaking in the context of speech having the tendency to incite violence, the European Court of Human Rights declared that “there is little scope… for restrictions on political speech or on debate on questions of public interest”, including the “divisive ones”.

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