Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Comparative Material

PUCL, Repeal Sedition Laws, Comparative Sedition Law

This website provides a comparative account of the development of Sedition laws in various jurisdictions.

James Morton Smith, The Sedition Law, Free Speech, and the American Political Process, The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Oct., 1952) [restricted access]

The article discusses Sedition Law in the American context. It examines the historical interplay between Sedition laws and the Freedom of Speech.

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H.L Fu, Sedition and Political Dissidence: Towards Legitimate Dissent in China, 26(2) Hong Kong Law Journal 210 (1996)

This article reviews the application of laws against sedition in China and, in particular, recently publicised applications of these laws against two leading political dissidents in China. This analysis is placed within the context of a preliminary review of the development of laws against sedition principally in the United States. It concludes that it is not the abuse of China’s anti-sedition laws, as laws, which we need to be most concerned about. The more crucial problem relates to the political context, influenced often by international factors, which shapes decisions to use these laws.

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Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of promoting ill-will and hostility between Religious Groups, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 351 (2011) [Open Access]

This article examines the new phenomenon of sedition laws being used to counteract speech considered offensive to racial and religious groups in Singapore. It investigates the manner in which these laws have been employed and jurisprudentially developed to restrain speech on race and/or religion in Singapore. The article argues that the current state of the law is highly problematic for its adverse impact on free speech as well as for its conceptual confusions with alternative bases for restraining speech.

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New Zealand Law Commission, Reforming the Law of Sedition, Report 96, March 2007 [Open Access]

The New Zealand’s Law Commission Report reviews the law of sedition in New Zealand, and traces its history in common law. It has concluded that the width of the seditious offences under the law means they are an unjustifiable breach of the right of freedom of expression. Considering that defaming the Government is right of every citizen, the Law Commission recommended the repeal of the sedition laws in the country.

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Simon Bronitt & James Stellios, Sedition, Security and Human Rights: ‘Unbalanced’ Law Reform in the War on ‘Terror’, 30 Melbourne University Law Review 923 (2006) [restricted access]

This article provides a review of the history, structure and form of the law of sedition, focusing on the new provisions inserted into the Criminal Code Act 1995 in 2005 as part of a wider counter-terrorism package. A short historical review of sedition in Australia is followed by a critical analysis of the new offences, which explores the constitutional and human rights implications of these new offences. It concludes that the law does not achieve the proposed balance between national security and human rights.

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Jeyaseelan Anthony, Seditious Tendency? Political Patronisation of Free Speech and Expression in Malaysia, Education and Research Association for Consumers [Open Access]

This book is an analysis of the draconian provisions in the Sedition Act 1948 of Malaysia, its history and how it affects the citizen’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Constitution. It provides some understanding of, and reasons why, the Sedition Act as enacted and adopted in 1948 by the British colonial government must be abolished, or alternatively, reformed to reflect the changes in national and global political dimensions, particularly the threat of terrorism.

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