Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Law: The Case of Holocaust Denial

Andrew Altman

in Speech and Harm

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199236282
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741357 | DOI:
Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Law: The Case of Holocaust Denial

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This chapter critically examines the jurisprudence of free expression under human rights law and American constitutional doctrine, focusing on the issue of Holocaust denial. It is argued that legal prohibitions aimed at Holocaust denial are unjustifiable in any existing liberal state. The argument hinges on a revised form of a doctrine at the heart of a key American free speech case, Brandenburg v. Ohio. The revised Brandenburg doctrine holds that speech ought not to be prohibited, regardless of the viewpoint it advocates, unless the speech is a) intended and likely to bring about immediate lawless conduct, or b) reasonably expected to contribute substantially to widespread violence. This doctrine is defended, and it is shown to tell against prohibitions on Holocaust denial in existing liberal states.

Keywords: viewpoint neutrality; Holocaust denial; free speech; free expression; antisemitism; human rights law

Chapter.  11045 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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