Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides the right to freedom of expression and information, subject to certain restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and "necessary in a democratic society". This right includes the freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information and ideas.
Article 10 – Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it 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 interests 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 the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The licensing exception
The provision about "licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises", i.e. the state’s right to license the media companies, was included because of the limited number of available frequencies and the fact that, at that time, most European states had a monopoly of broadcasting and television. Later court decision held that due to "the technical progress in the last decades, the justification of these restrictions cannot be made by reference to the number of available frequencies and channels." The public monopolies within the audiovisual media were seen by the court as contrary to Article 10, primarily because they cannot provide a plurality of sources of information.
- Handyside v United Kingdom (1976)
- Lingens v Austria (1986) 8 EHRR 407
- Mueller and Others v Switzerland (1988), application number 10737/84
- The Observer and The Guardian v United Kingdom (1991) 14 EHRR 153, the "Spycatcher" case.
- Otto-Preminger-Institut v Austria, see Liebeskonzil (1994)
- Jersild v. Denmark (1994)
- Bowman v United Kingdom  ECHR 4, (1998) 26 EHRR 1
- Appleby v United Kingdom (2003) 37 EHRR 38
- Steel and Morris v United Kingdom (2005), the ‘McLibel case’
- Delfi AS v. Estonia (2015).
- E.S. v. Austria.
- Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen - Article XI states: "The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, except to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law."
- First Amendment to the United States Constitution - government "shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech"
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 19 is nearly identical to Article 10 of the ECHR
- Monica Macovei. "A guide to the implementation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.", Human rights handbooks, No. 2, January 2004. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- C Gearty, Civil Liberties (Clarendon 2007)