“The Right to Insult in International Law” written by Amal Clooney and Philippa Webb. 16.03.2017

States all over the world are enacting new laws that criminalize insults, and using existing insult laws with renewed vigour. In this article, we examine state practice, treaty provisions, and case law on insulting speech. We conclude that insulting speech is currently insufficiently protected under international law and regulated by confused case law and commentary. We explain that the three principal international treaties that regulate speech provide conflicting guidance on the right to insult in international law, and the treaty provisions have been interpreted in inconsistent ways by international courts and United Nations bodies. We conclude by recommending that international law should recognize a “right to insult” and, drawing on U.S. practice under the First Amendment, we propose eight recommendations to guide consideration of insulting speech in international law. These recommendations would promote coherence in international legal standards and offer greater protection to freedom of speech.

This Article originally appeared in Volume 48.2 of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. A PDF of this Article may be found here or by clicking on the title below.

the_right_to_insult_in_international_law.pdf

Source : Doughty Street International

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4 thoughts on ““The Right to Insult in International Law” written by Amal Clooney and Philippa Webb. 16.03.2017

  1. I have not read her “insult” article but if there is an analogy to the First Amendment it seems as if it is a misnomer. In the US there is no bar on insulting an individual, which means there is NO Insult laws in the US. Her pre-amble to her article is false. Through case law, the US has curtailed speech with the notion of “hate speech, fighting words, child pornography, limitation on commercial speech and obscenity.” All limitation to speech are derived through case law.

    The basic notion is the following:
    “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This language restricts government’s ability to constrain the speech of citizens. The prohibition on abridgment of the freedom of speech is not absolute…

    Like

    • They’re using the U.S. as an example of a better free speech regime, not as an analogy. “We conclude by recommending that international law should recognize a “right to insult” and, drawing on U.S. practice under the First Amendment, we propose eight recommendations to guide consideration of insulting speech in international law.”

      Nice to see her writing articles on top of everything else she’s doing!

      Liked by 1 person

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