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The freedom of expression or the freedom of speech is one of the core freedoms of any society that strives to be free. It refers to the ability of any individual or group of individuals to be able to express themselves in any way which doesn't harm others without any punishment or fear of retaliation.
In the United States judicial interpretation of the First Amendment holds that "constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe 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." This interpretation developed over the 20th century as the United States was impacted by several movements which opposed the government including those who advocated communism. The resolution regarding “clear and present danger” was arrived at in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio after a long period during which information was censored and advocates of unpopular ideas were expelled from the country or imprisoned. The rise of the Islamic State and the effectiveness of its internet propaganda in 2015 raised questions regarding whether the established interpretation was an acceptable resolution.
Darwin (Australia) Magistrate Daynor Trigg was reported to have said:
- "There is also the potential that the written word may encourage someone to act out what they’ve read."
- "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
- "ISIS Influence on Web Prompts Second Thoughts on First Amendment" article by Erik Eckholm in The New York Times December 27, 2015
- Freespeechproject .com - An anti-censorship forum.