The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Compelled speech is a transmission of expression required by law. A related legal concept is protected speech. In the United States, compelled speech is governed by the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. In the same way that the First Amendment protects free expression, in many cases it similarly protects an individual from being required to utter or otherwise express a thought with which they disagree.
Examples of compelled speech supported by law
- Requiring a cable system to carry local stations – Turner Broadcasting v. FCC (1994)
- Mandatory university fees that support groups with which other students disagree – Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth (2000)
- Mandatory fees on agricultural products to support advertising – Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association (2005)
- Required availability of videos and podcasts in a form accessible to sight- and hearing-impaired persons
- Subpoenas to companies compelling testimony that may be self-incriminatory
- Filing a tax return
- Warnings on alcohol and tobacco products
Examples of compelled speech not supported by law
- Saluting the flag – West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
- Requiring a newspaper to publish an advertisement – Miami Herald v. Tornillo (1974)
- School attendance past the eighth grade – Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
- Motto on license plate – Wooley v. Maynard (1977)
- Compelled self-incrimination by an individual – Fifth Amendment (1789)
- School dress codes – Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
A government of, by, and for the people also speaks on behalf of its people. The government is not required to express views held by groups in the population.
- A state may choose not to offer a license plate with a particular message – Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (2015)
- A city may accept a donation of statue from one religious group and refuse to accept one from another – Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2009)
Compelled speech (Canada)
In Canada, the concept of "compelled speech" became controversial following the Canadian federal government's Bill C-16, which would add "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. University of Toronto Psychology professor and clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, used the term "compelled speech" to describe the bill on September 27, 2016, in his lecture video series on his YouTube channel. in which he denounced political correctness, in general because of free speech, and compelled speech, in particular. In his video Peterson announced he refused to be compelled to use genderless pronouns. A subsequent October 2016 video filmed after a free-speech rally at the University of Toronto went viral. Since then he has attracted a wide following and received significant international media coverage. By 2018, "compelled speech" had become a "very divisive subject within the Ontario law profession" and was the object of much tension. Peterson's talks on university campuses, such as Queen's University, with its Faculty of Law, have been controversial.
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