This guide explains the legal framework which protects freedom of expression and the circumstances in which that freedom may be restricted in order to prevent violence, abuse or discrimination. It explores the boundaries between freedom of expression, unlawful discrimination and harassment, and hate speech. It also considers various contexts in which freedom of expression is curtailed. There are, of course, other aspects of the right to freedom of expression (such as privacy, libel and defamation) which will be covered in future publications.
There is considerable debate at both national and international levels about what types of contentious language or communication should be either permitted or prohibited. This is reflected in different levels of protection in different countries. Here we set out the legal framework in Great Britain.