Criminal speech

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Criminal speech is a legal concept that identifies certain kinds of speech as a crime. The concept is somewhat at odds with freedom of speech in its broadest sense, within the broader freedom of expression, and asserts certain limitations on such freedom.

Concepts like criticism of government and criticism of royalty are controversial. Other concepts limiting certain kinds of speech are not, such as that which prohibits shouting fire in a crowded theater (as a practical joke, and not as a warning), as such speech has the potential to cause harm.

Laws vary by country according with the legal principles that such country adheres to. Most speech is unregulated, and does not violate law. In reference to authoritarian governments which assert serious controls, such controls are commonly called suppression of dissent. In democracies, the concept of hate speech has emerged in recent years, to counteract the political and social influence of hate groups.

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