Alternatives to Criminal Rules - Background Paper

Freedom of expression is not absolute, and it is broadly recognised that some restrictions on this right are justified. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) sets out a clear test for legitimacy for these restrictions. According to Article 19 of the ICCPR, restrictions are only justified if they are clearly spelled out in law, pursue a legitimate interest and are necessary for the protection of that interest, which means, among other things, that they must be designed so as to minimally impair freedom of expression.