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Document Type

Note

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2020

Publication Citation

27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 431 (2020)

Abstract

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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