Inquiry launch: Freedom of Expression
6 November 2020
Freedom of expression is an essential foundation of democratic society, guaranteed by the common law and by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights will investigate this issue. Our inquiry will focus on the following questions:
- Does hate speech law need to be updated or clarified as shifting social attitudes lead some to consider commonly held views hateful?
- Does current police guidance and practice on hate speech law help promote freedom of expression?
- Is there a need to review the wording and application of Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) legislation?
- What obligations does an employee have to their employer when expressing views on social media, and to what extent can, and should, employers respond to what their employees say on these platforms?
- Is greater clarity required to ensure the law is understood and fair?
- How has the situation changed in universities in the two years since the Committee’s report on the issue?
- Does everyone have equal protection of their right to freedom of expression?
The Joint Committee on Human Rights invites submissions of no more than 1,500 words from interested groups and individuals.
If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission anonymously (meaning it will be published but without your name), or confidentially (meaning it won't be published at all), please say at the start of your evidence which of these you want to request.
The Committee reserves the right to reject or redact any evidence as it sees fit, for example if third parties are named who may not have consented to their personal details being included in the submission.
The deadline for submissions is 3 January 2021.