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Report No. 200

European Convention

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 declares in Article 10(1), the same right as to freedom of expression, on the lines of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration. But, Article 10(2) deals with the restrictions:

"10(2): The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries 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 interest 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 reputation of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and in particularly of the judiciary".

The above right in Article 10(1) as to freedom of expression has to be read along with the following Articles of that Convention:-

(a) Article 2: Right to Life: (1) Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a Court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

(b) Article 5: Right to Liberty and Security: (1) Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with as prescribed by law: Clause (a) refers to lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court. Clauses (b) to (f) deal with manner of arrest and detention.

Article 5(2) deals with the right of the person arrested to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.

Article 5(3) to (5) refer to rights incidental to arrest and detention.

(c) Article 6: Right to Fair Trial: It reads:

"(1) In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

(2) Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

(3) Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.

(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require.

(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

Article 7:

"(1) No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed ... ...

(2) ... ... ... ... .... ... ... ..."

Article 8: Right to Respect for Private and Family Life:

"(1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

(1) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of the rights and freedom of others."

There are similar provisions in the American Convention on Human Rights,1969 and the African Charter of Human Rights and People's Rights, 1981.

Trial by Media free speech and fair trial under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Back

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