The Promotion of Freedom of Speech in China and South-East Asia: The Role of the United Nations

Bachelor Thesis, 2009

62 Pages, Grade: 5,5 (Schweizer System)



A Abstract

C List of abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Relevance
1.2 Research Questions and Objectives
1.3 Structure and Methodology

2 Human Rights
2.1 History and Development of Human Rights
2.1.1 Universality of Human Rights
2.2 Freedom of Speech
2.2.1 International and Regional Standards
2.2.2 Justifications of Freedom of Speech
2.2.3 The Role of Freedom of Speech for Democracy and Development
2.2.4 Limitations of Freedom of Speech

3 United Nations and Human Rights
3.1 Universality or Relativism?
3.2 The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
3.3 UN Charter-based Bodies (and other Non- treaty Bodies)
3.3.1 The UN Charter
3.3.2 The General Assembly
3.3.3 Economic and Social Council
3.3.4 The Commission on Human Rights and Sub- Commission
3.3.5 The Special Rapporteur for Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
3.4 UN Treaty- based Bodies
3.4.1 Human Rights Committees
3.5 The Security Council
3.5.1 Measures to Promote Human Rights
3.5.2 Justifications for Interventions

4 South­ East Asia and Freedom of Speech
4.1 South- East Asia: A portrait
4.1.1 History of Human Rights
4.2 Current Situation of Freedom of Speech
4.2.1 Timor- Leste
4.2.2 Myanmar

5 China and Freedom of speech
5.1 China: A portrait
5.1.1 Confucianism
5.1.2 Human Rights Debate
5.2 Current situation of Freedom of Speech
5.2.1 Freedom of speech in general
5.2.2 Censorship
5.2.3 Uighur

6 United Nations’ Support for the Promotion of Human Rights in China and South­ East Asia
6.1 Current situation in China
6.2 Current situation in South- East Asia

7 Policy Recommendations
7.1 South- East Asia
7.2 China

8 Conclusion

D Bibliography

E Internetsources

A Abstract

Freedom of speech is considered to be a counter stone for democracy and development. This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the topic of freedom of speech, with a special focus on China and South- East Asia.

To approach this topic, First of all, an overview of the topic of human rights will be presented, and an examination of the principle of universality of human rights will be made. Secondly, a closer consideration of freedom of speech will be presented. After this, the United Nations and their relation to human rights will be reviewed and the topic of the universality of the UN human rights system will be analyzed. Furthermore, the most important organs and treaties considering human rights within the United Nations System will be introduced. It is also important to take a look at the current situation of human rights in general and freedom of speech in particular in China and South- East Asia.

In the end, two policy recommendations, one concerning South- East Asia and one concerning China, on what the United Nations can do to support and promote freedom of speech in these regions, will be made. These two recommendations will be slightly different for the two regions, mainly due to the position of China within the United Nations. While the recommendation for South- East Asia can be made (almost) within the human rights framework of the United Nations, the recommendation for China has to focus on so- called soft power measures.

C List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

Nowadays, the discussion about human rights and especially about their implementation has reached its high-point. Human rights gain more and more importance, especially in times of globalization and growing dependencies. Especially in times of globalization, the countries tend to close contracts among each other, over the various continents. Due to these raising interconnections, the states have more influence on each other and therefore, the demand for respect of human rights has gained importance. In times of Corporate Governance, sustainability and the awareness of worldwide inequalities, human rights can be seen as a possible tool to handle and, where necessary, improve those situations.

A current example of the importance of the respect of human rights in China and SouthEast Asia could be observed in the 12th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. There, the representative of Sweden commented on a Chinese Attack that they would have a conversation with everyone- as long as this country respects democracy and human rights. Furthermore, attention to China has recently been drawn due to an incident between the Uighur and Han- Chinese in a Chinese region, where a demonstration was quelled violently. But also South- East Asia has been in the center of attention, there is for example the recent declared independence of Timor- Leste and the following violent demonstrations. Myanmar has drawn attention with the demonstrations of the Buddhist monks in 2007, along with the almost twenty years of detention of politician Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the best known freedom fighters in Myanmar.

1.1 Relevance

This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the implementation of human rights, especially freedom of speech and give an overview about the current situation in China and South- East Asia. The two elements of freedom of speech with the geographical region of South- East Asia and China have not yet been combined often. This is why I decided to analyze this topic. While trying to bring together these elements and to find conclusions and solutions, it is also important to analyze if the cultural differences between Europe and Asia for example are not an obstacle in the promotion of human rights, and if there is something like cultural imperialism, in a way that the Europeans demand the implementation of human rights without reservation. Maybe, just as some people state, human rights have to be considered in a regional and cultural context. This discussion about universality of human rights will be reviewed in the first part.

When it comes to human rights violations, there has been the call for the United Nations to make interventions. In the case of the genocide in Rwanda, the UN is accused of having made a lot of mistakes by not intervening (Bitala, 2004). In 1999, a report initiated by Kofi Annan, at this time the Secretary- General, has published “Rwanda” to be a big failure in the history of the organization and that the genocide could possibly have been partly or entirely prevented by the United Nations (Unknown Author, BBC, 2004). Thereof the question is if the UN should intervene in human rights violations earlier, so that such a thing as in 1994 will never happen again.

At this point, it seems already important to state that freedom of speech and expression can serve as a supportive measure to attract international attention to a certain issue, and may help to prevent these incidents- therefore, it seems especially worth to be protected (except from some limitations, which will be presented later). In addition, it has been shown that human rights violations increase significantly when freedom of expression (and freedom of press) are restricted (Hamm, 1997), and therefore, freedom of expression also serves as a tool to prevent from human rights violations.

1.2 Research Questions and Objectives

In the course of this thesis, four central research questions will be addressed. The most important one is already represented in the title:

I. In what way could the United Nations support the promotion of freedom of speech in China and South- East Asia?

It is important to differentiate between the two regions (on one hand South- East Asia, on the other hand China), mainly because of the different position of China within the United Nations, especially due to the permanent seat of China in the Security Council. Of course, the differences in the cultures must not be forgotten. In the process of this thesis, several theoretical aspects, such as freedom of speech in general, the human rights system in the United Nations and the mechanisms will be reviewed, so that in the end of the thesis, individual policy recommendations for the two regions will be made.

In the process of answering research question I, some other issues have to be reviewed.

First of all, it is important to clarify the generalizability of human rights, so the second research question is:

II. Are human rights universal?

This question is important because it will show to what degree of implementation of the human rights can be expected on a worldwide level. If some variations are tolerable or not. It is important to state that the answer may not have to be a clear yes or no, there are] also shades of grey in between- for example one can agree with a universal core of human rights, but add relative and different specifications.

Because human rights are global and might even turn out to be universal, International Institutions such as the United Nations have been charged with monitoring. Also, the UN can intervene in the human rights landscape. So, the third research question will be:

III. What support can the United Nations system give for promotion of human rights? To answer this question is as well important to clarify if the human rights system which the UN has implemented is universal or if for example some (Western) states have taken too much influence in the decision process.

In addition, the current situation of human rights in the chosen region has to be analyzed to gain an overview of what needs to be improved, what the current problems are and what is in the range of possible changes. Of course, the respect of local cultural traditions when fighting for human rights increases the chances of winning this fight. Therefore, one of the questions that have to be answered is if the South- East Asian and the Chinese values can be met with human rights considerations (Bauer and Bell, 1999).

So, the fourth research question will be:

IV. What is the current situation of human rights (with special focus on freedom of speech) in China and South- East Asia?

1.3 Structure and Methodology

First of all, the second research question on the universal character of human rights will be addressed. This is important because it will clarify the expectations that can be held towards the Asian Region, and whether the concept of human rights even deserves worldwide respect. Secondly, it is important to clarify, why freedom of speech should be promoted and what the possible effects on especially democracy can be observed. Thirdly, the question on the current situation of Human rights in South- East Asia will be clarified and finally, the United Nations Human rights Mechanisms will be reviewed and the first question, how the United Nations could support the promotion of Freedom of speech in China and South- East Asia will be addressed, including a policy recommendation including possible measures that the UN could take to promote freedom of speech. The main methodology for this thesis is the study and review of literature.

2 Human Rights

“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible”.

(OHCHR , What are human rights?, 2009a, retrieved on November 1st from

2.1 History and Development of Human Rights

Human rights are rights belonging to every human being “simply because they are human beings” (Riedel, 2003, p. 147). Riedel describes six aspects that are crucial for human rights. First of all, the basis of human rights is human dignity. The second aspect is the fact that human rights have not been just discovered but that they have evolved. Thirdly, human rights contain requirements, which are also valid for the future. This basically means that every human being has the right to demand the best possible range of enjoyment of human rights, may it be now or in the future. The fourth attribute is that human rights evolved as principles and not as clear legal norms, but that over the time, a tendency to fix legal norms for human rights. Fifthly, human rights claim universality. The last attribute of human rights is that they aim at a social consensus (2003).

The current idea of human rights is a relatively recent one, the contemporary understanding of the concept of human rights after 1948 emerged as a response to the historical mischief from Nazi and Stalinism. However, early conceptions of human rights can be traced back to antiquity, yet the idea of individuality is relatively new. The idea of individualistic human rights was basically developed as a defense against the absolutist state, going hand in hand with the enlightenment days in the 17th and 18th century. During the enlightenment days, important philosophers and mental fathers of human rights influenced the public awareness on human rights (Sadurski, 2002). The most important amongst them are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean- Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. The Virginia Bill of Rights of 1776 for example was based on John Locke’s propagation of the rights of life, liberty and property, Immanuel Kant’s theory of human dignity as ethical autonomy additionally laid the foundation for the modern human rights conception (Riedel, 2003). In the last quarter of the 20th century, Human rights have become more and more of an important instrument in politics, and they even became an independent political target. The international protection of human rights has developed new dynamics. After World War II, the awareness that the subjects of the law of nations are not only the states but also the individual citizens has had strong implications because it opened the perspective of individual rights. It led to a change in the point of view that the UN (which succeeded the League of Nations), or another institution that was no nationstate, had to be charged with the granting of human rights, because the two World Wars have left their perception that the nation- state failed in granting human rights and in addition, the nation-state could not avoid war (Riedel, 2003).

According to Tomuschat (2008), human rights can be classified into three categories: First of all, the negative freedoms of liberty, which symbolize mainly the right to ward off the state or any other citizen from violence against an individual. Secondly, the positive rights of participation, meaning participation in political and social shaping of opinion and fair participation in the legal system. Finally, there are rights of parttaking of social processes, which should enable equal and adequate living conditions. There is also another point of view on human rights: the dimensions. Riedel (2003) presents human rights in three dimensions: within the first dimension, the liberal rights to defend one-self and the classic rights of the citizens can be found. The second dimension consists of economic, social and cultural rights and the third and final dimension includes the more broad rights such as the right of development, the right of participation and the right of communication. Some authors, such as Nooke (2008), also call these dimensions generations of human rights (analog: First, Second and Third Generation). The first dimension has been derived from the authors mentioned before (such as Kant, Hobbes and Locke). An important basic idea developed by these writers and philosophers was the principle of the state treaty. Briefly, the citizens of a state enter voluntarily a social contract which endows the government or the state with some powers. The task of this new state is to protect the rights of the individual, such as the right to life, freedom and property (because if this would not be guaranteed by the state, the individuals would not enter the social contract). The human rights from the second dimension mainly have their roots in the industrialization. When the urbanization led the people to move to the cities, hoping for better social conditions, they instead found unemployment and poverty. This gave raise to social reformers, such as Marx, which demanded the right to work and rights within work. The third dimension of human rights has been mainly developed from and since the UN Charter and the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights- which gave an international element to the principle of human rights (Riedel, 2003).

2.1.1 Universality of Human Rights

“It was never the people who complained on the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so.”

Kofi Annan (year unknown, as cited in Tomuschat, 2008, p. 94)

This section of the paper includes an analysis of the universality of human rights. For this specific paper, the question whether or not human rights are universal shows its importance in the implications especially for the policy recommendations for the United Nations and for the standard that can be demanded on a worldwide basis.

In Ethics, universality means that something has a meaning that is not dependant from the context of the consideration. Relativism on the other hand means that a concept or principle can only be considered in particular and specific contexts (Pohl, 2009). The discussion about universality or relativity on the contrary of human rights is as old as the idea of human or natural rights itself. The question if human rights are universal or not is per se a very important one. The answer to this question has strong implications- if one agrees that human rights are universal, you expect them to be accepted and realized in the same way for everyone all over the world. If you deny the universality of human rights, you agree on regional differences or even on the fact that in some cases, human rights are not applicable.

In 1993, the final documentation of the Vienna World Conference on Human rights states literally: “1. The world Conference on Human Rights reaffirms the solemn commitment of all states to fulfill their obligates to promote universal respect for, and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms [. . .]. The universal nature of these rights is beyond question” (Riedel, 2003, p. 139). But in the Bangkok Conference on Human rights, which was organized by the Asian regional group in preparation for the Vienna Conference earlier that year, doubts about this universality were raised; mainly about if some of those human rights are compatible with Asian values. The Bangkok Declaration also mentioned these doubts (see below). Asian Countries, especially China, keep on stating that the Concept of Human rights is orientated on Western Values and can thus not be entirely applicable to Asian contexts. Referring to the European Declaration on Human Rights, they are demanding an Asian pendant, such as the Bangkok Declaration of 1993. The same is true for African and Islamic Regions. The main critique which Asian human rights specialists express is that the Western Human rights are oriented on liberal values, meaning mainly the strong emphasis on the individual, which is considered to be a typical Western attribute. The Asiatic moral values on the contrary stress the importance of the community (Bauer & Bell, 1999). The Asian Region also manifested those doubts towards universality in the Bangkok Declaration, specifically in Article 8: “ […] Human rights are universal in nature, they must be considered in the context of a dynamic and evolving process of international norm- setting, bearing in mind the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds” (Bangkok Declaration, Retrieved on October 19th from Bangkok%20Declaration.htm). And yet, all human rights norms support the basic idea of the existence of the principle of human rights.

Without a doubt, the basic idea of Human rights contains universality: They should be valid for every single human being in the same manner and the same way, independent from gender, religion or origin. It is still important to regard not only legal aspects when reflecting about Human rights, but also considering the dimension of moral, political and historical events (Nooke, 2008). Not only can universality be observed in the idea of Human rights, but they are also imagined to be egalitarian, meaning that they should be applied for everyone in the same manner. We imagine them as well as being individual and categorical, meaning that they cannot be denied for anybody. Reality thought seems to paint a different image (Tomuschat, 2008).

If you analyze the situation strictly formal, the tendency to universality can be seen from the raising support for human rights treaties over time. The Universal of Human Rights in 1948 was propagated by only 54 states from all the nations worldwide, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1966 has been ratified by 165 states so far and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1966 has 160 parties. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that has been signed in 1989 was even ratified by 191 states. The frequent disregard or only partial realization of UN- human rights standards though is, according to Riedel (2003) not necessarily a bar to the claim of universal validity of human rights; that is the reason why that this conclusion would have to apply to all legal norms, so it is not a specific to human rights norms and this again would lead to invalidity of many laws and rights. Towards the claim that the human rights treaties have been influenced to hard by Western forced, Tomuschat (2008) mentions the fact that especially for the UDHR this cannot be true, justifying his argument with the high presence of socialistic powers within the United Nations. He even states that the UDHR is no longer challenged because of its origins. One point of criticism on the universality of human rights is that they are told to have a so called Western origin. Von Hoffmann (2009) for example sees the conception of human rights as a product of three important influences: Greek Philosophy, Christianity and political revolutions. The question is how compatible human rights are with cultures that are not built on occidental values, such as the Islam or the Near East. This actually seems to be the core of the discussion: The value dimension. It can be said that not many authors doubt the universality of human rights after an analysis of the human rights treaties, but they doubt that the value discussion has enjoyed enough attention and consideration. Tomuschat (2008) for example states that he considered the problem not the general acceptance of human rights, but rather the different emphasizes that various cultures place within this concept. As an answer to the claim that human rights have a so called Western origin, he utters doubts on the existence of such a system- showing the common basis (namely Christendom, Greek and Roman thoughts), but the rather different development of the so-called Western states. As one example for the differences, he mentions the non- existing consensus on death penalty (which does not even exist within one country, e.g. the United States of America). Therefore, he insists on warning of an excessive use of the term Western values.

In the discussion whether human rights are universal or not, it seems important to stress that human rights seem to carry something that could be called local connotations. Human rights have to be considered and put into a local context although they should, in their core, have universality. If this claim would be false, as stated by some professionals, who deny any localism in Human rights, we could not observe the establishment of local Human rights Mechanisms, such as the African Charter of Human rights. (Tinio, 2004)

It is important to review the arguments against universality and in favor of relativism. First of all, there is the traditional conception of relativism. Within the extreme relativism, there are two main categories: The traditional conception and Huntington’s Theory of the Clash of Cultures. The first one started from the premise that “cultural plurality as a fact effectively prevents the development of common standards” (Riedel, 2003, p. 143). Therefore, a duty of tolerance towards other societies and convictions is demanded. The second theory, Huntington’s Clash of Cultures, states that the different cultures in the world would have to learn to accept each other. Resulting thereof is a principle of non- intervention, although reality shows a cultural imperialism by the Western states, not only in economic, but also in idealistic terms. Riedel (2003), among others, rejects these two theories by saying that the duty of tolerance demanded by the traditional conception is not coherent, because these assumed cultures are not tolerant against each other for cultural reasons, but rather because they are bound to their own values. Furthermore, this conception of non-intervention would support the tolerance of the worst cruelties, against the current opinion that there are some actions, which are considered good or bad by all cultures (such as genocide or famine). Towards Huntington’s theory, one could argue that Huntington’s cultures are much too homogenous and that in reality, every culture among itself is pluralistic. Moreover, the fact, just as the traditional conception, that there are some common values among all cultures can be rejected. The second branch of relativism is called modified relativism. It starts from the premise that there are some shared values amongst all cultures, but that human rights do not sufficiently reflect those values. Therefore, due to the existence of cultural plurality, human rights are not universal. A system of human rights protection can only be established if the old system is given up completely, and a new one would be created, based on an empirical study, that shows a catalogue of universal values (Riedel, 2003).

To conclude the question whether human rights are universal or not, after a review of various opinions, it can be stated that there seems to be a consensus that the legal framework has rather universal character. When it comes to the value debate and the question, whether the whole world could agree on one single codex considering human rights, the opinions reviewed could not be more different from each other. There are authors such as Di Fabio (2008) who agree on the existence and importance of cultural differences, while other authors, such as Tomuschat (2008) state that cultural differences cannot be used as an argument. The pointing out of cultural differences could even be interpreted as a defensive measure of political leaders against responsibility, which would also be consistent with Kofi Annan’s phrase cited above.

I personally believe that the latter could be actually true. Of course, some countries and regions might need more time to adjust to all conditions to guarantee human rights, but in the end, I believe that every human being on this planet should enjoy the same rights and duties. Just as Kofi Annan said, it has almost never been the people who doubted the universality of human rights, but rather the government s. This, for me is a sign for inefficient government s, because in my conception of democracy, government s should act as its best for their people - which does not mean that democracy is necessarily the end value of human society, but as of 2005, 123 out of 192 states were classified as democracies (Mair, 2008), so democracies represent more than the majority of the states worldwide. Of course, in my opinion, this should also be true for other state systems. All in all, I agree on certain and especially temporary relativism, but I believe that the end value should be the universal acceptance and respect of human rights.

2.2 Freedom of Speech

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.1

The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want, which, [. . .] will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, [. . .], means [. . .] that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Four Freedoms, Delivered on 6 January 1941 (Hakim, 2002 ,p. 232)

As already Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his State of the Union speech in front of the 77th congress in 1941, freedom of speech and expression is a very important human freedom. He even named it first in the basic four freedoms, on which the world should be built on after World War II, and which should be guaranteed under every circumstance from that day on.

It is important to clarify what freedom of speech actually means and which processes or rights are protected by it. As Robertson (2004) puts it, “Freedom of speech in one of the core civil liberties” (p.101), meaning that other rights are more political than freedom of speech and that “a version of it in some form or other, […] is protected in all rights documents” (p.101). Mainly the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, the European Convention on Human rights of 1950 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Article 19 says that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, retrieved on October 15th from, belong to the first documents that actually fix freedom of speech.

According to Benedec and Nikolova- Kress (2004), freedom of speech can be seen as a framework which unites several elements, such as freedom of information, freedom of press or freedom of media. The scope of freedom of speech reaches from the individual right to express ones opinion to the institutional freedom of media. It is important to state that the protection of freedom of speech also protects the means and ways of expression, such as the media, and not only the content of speech. Therefore, an important link between freedom of speech and freedom of press can be observed. In addition, freedom of speech and the related freedom of press have gained a new dimension with the upcoming media. The fact that TV and Radio can possibly deliver every conflict or war has become an important factor in war strategies. The new media, including TV and mainly internet, can be a chance and a threat at the same time: it can be a new way of informing people or of giving them a chance to exchange and express opinions in new ways. Furthermore, international issues, such as a campaign against landmines will have more attention and can be spread more easily. In addition, the globalization of press and media can also be a threat, because if it is being strictly controlled by the government or another powerful group, it can give away selective information. In addition, racist or fascist ideologies could be harder to control and pursue.

Although Freedom of speech is not considered to be a political right, it still has political implications, such as Freedom of press as a part of it, which empowers the information of the voters in a country. Another important role of freedom of speech can be seen in the role for the development of personality. The latter, at least in many human rights documents, is considered to be an end value towards which modern society aims (Holtz, 1997).

However, it is very hard to treat freedom of speech as an absolute value, because abuse such as defamation, cannot be tolerated. From that point of view, there are some restrictions of Freedom of speech, such as by the right of inviolability of personal honor, which can be considered as a rather obvious limitation to free speech. Another limitation to freedom of speech can arise from the demands of national security- a possible reason can be that a publication gives away confidential information or they could cause a decline in support for the government, or even be a threat for the image of a country outside its borders. Evidently, there is a delicate balance to be drawn, which can be related to freedom of information. An example for this balance, which is rather difficult to find, can be seen in the recent poster campaign of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). The poster features a veiled woman against a background of a Swiss flag, on which several minarets, that resemble missiles, are positioned. Some cities, such as Basel and Lausanne (Unknown Author, NZZ online, 2009b), banned these posters for racist and image reasons. Bellinzona and Schaffhausen on the contrary, allowed these posters in public spaces justifying this decision with the argument that freedom of speech should be respected (Unknown Author, SF Tagesschau online, 2009c).

Some regional differences in the protection of freedom of speech can be observed. According to Robertson (2004), an example of this can be seen between Europe and the United States of America. The latter stresses the importance of freedom of speech in its political dimension, while Europeans tend to see the role in the whole process of human development or human dignity. Therefore, freedom of speech is a right better protected in the United States of America than in Europe.

There are various processes and instruments of implementation of freedom of speech. First of all, the states have an obligation to include measures to ensure freedom of speech into their jurisdiction and to provide sufficient measures against possible violation. Secondly, laws on media and communication should not be neglected. They are in charge of specifying the rather general laws (Benedek & Nikolova- Kress, 2004). In addition, the United Nations has installed a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression (see below). To promote freedom of speech, an important aspect is that a State promotes pluralism. The Inter-American Court stated that freedom of expression is based on the most possible access to media for everyone, especially that there is no individual or group that is excluded. This can be seen as another proof of the relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of press (Article 19 & Internews, 2005).

The access to the exchange of opinions can be crucial for formation of opinion, a basic element for democracies. The effects on development and democracy will be reviewed later in this paper.


1 For this paper, the author assumes that the term “freedom of speech” equals the term “freedom of expression” - they are thus interchangeable.

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The Promotion of Freedom of Speech in China and South-East Asia: The Role of the United Nations
University of St. Gallen
International Affairs
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promotion, freedom, speech, china, south-east, asia, role, united, nations, system)
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Jacqueline Lehmann (Author), 2009, The Promotion of Freedom of Speech in China and South-East Asia: The Role of the United Nations, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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