Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2020

Publication Citation

27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 431 (2020)


In the fall of 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

issued a decision upholding the criminal conviction of an Austrian

national (E.S.) in violation of Austria's Criminal Code against the

disparagement of religious doctrines. Her initial conviction in the

Austrian court was based on statements she made about the Prophet

Muhammad while teaching a series of seminars entitled "Basic

Information on Islam." In upholding her conviction, the ECtHR found

that there had been no violation of the Austrian's right to freedom of

expression under Article 10 of the European Convention for the

Protection of Human Rights (Convention), and therefore Austria's

conviction was valid and did not impermissibly infringe on her right to

freedom of expression. This case adds yet another dimension to the

polarizing debate regarding freedom of expression and the permissible

limitations that may be placed upon this freedom. In this article, I argue

that this case can be viewed as a turning point in the free expression

debate, and perhaps indicates an awareness that such restrictions on

speech may be necessary in order to maintain public safety and order.

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