1. Every person has the right to freedom of speech and expression in any form.
2. This right includes freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart information and ideas without interference by any public authority and regardless of frontiers.
3. The exercise of the rights provided in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary only in the interests of the security of the Republic or the constitutional order or the public safety or the public order or the public health or the public morals or for the protection of the reputation or rights of others or for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
Article 19 of the Cyprus Constitution protects freedom of speech and expression, which is a basic human right that everyone should know about. As a part of the constitution it has the relevant supporting laws.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that right-or-left-wing extremists can verbally pour out their hatred for other people. It doesn’t mean that someone can say whatever they want no matter who it hurts. Freedom of speech and expression is a responsibility, counter-intuitive as that sounds. In a democracy it means you can write or talk about the problems we face as a society. Even better, find constructive ways to fix them. It means that stating your opinion – when founded on facts – is protected.
So when peace activists are attacked by right-wing neo-Nazis like ELAM, they should gather evidence and prosecute them on the grounds of Article 19. When a journalist is censored – by anybody – they should sue on the basis of Article 19. The legal system is there to protect our human rights, so we should all make good use of it and limit the ability of fanatics to take over the media narrative.
CNR stands by activists, so we are always here to make public any and all abuses of human rights, especially when it comes to freedom of expression and speech. Especially in these times of populism and censorship in neighboring countries like Turkey. Especially in these times of grass roots peace movements in Cyprus.
Stand up for human rights – they are your rights.
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