Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights States that:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
THE CASE FOR A #FREEBRITAIN
"Firstly, the European Convention of human rights is distinct from our membership of the EU. Whether we should remain a part of it post-Brexit instead of having our own Bill of Rights (which I would like to see) is another debate, but Brexit will not necessarily mean we no longer recognise it. Adherence to it is a condition of being a member of the Council of Europe, a separate body from the EU which includes non-EU states such as Russia, the Ukraine and Georgia.
Secondly, recent developments have suggested the EU is fast becoming a threat to our Free Speech, especially on social media. The EU commission is not only planning a directive to force you to use ID cards to log into or set up social media accounts (1), it has recently joined up with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube ‘asking’ them to sign a new code of conduct which requires them to remove posts ‘publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons’. (2)
While stopping ‘incitement is violence’ is right and already long established in law, ‘incitement to hatred’ is a very ill-defined term, certainly not defined by the code. It could be used to silence opinions on immigration and the current migrant crisis, or even traditional views on marriage and other areas of life. It is a dangerous tool that the EU can use to silence dissent and other genuine concerns, and a slippery slope which could lead to the EU Commission having more control over what is allowed to be discussed on social media.
The EU has just joined with big multinational corporations to help erode freedom of speech on platforms used by millions online. Free speech is a fundamental right in any democracy, holds the powerful to account, and protects against atrophy in public discourse and the marketplace of ideas. We must protect it in Britain, and we can by voting to leave."
Steven Woolfe MEP