Alan Wehbé


The international community seems to largely agree on the fundamental nature of the freedom of expression. Even countries that do not seem, in practice, to respect the freedom of expression still tend to ratify, sign, or be party to international instruments to that end. This duality tends to simplify the legal argument, but complicate the actual practice for promoting freedom of expression worldwide. For those who agree that the United States is a leader in international affairs, shift towards a more definitive State practice reinforcing the freedom of expression is an easy sell. For those who dispute whether the United States is such a leader, such a shift still provides additional evidence of State practice in support of the freedom of expression, which supports the argument that it is a cannon of customary international law. Asserting that freedom of expression is vital to generating “consent of the governed,” this paper makes the case for increased international legal protection of freedom of expression for the purpose of encouraging the creation, development, and growth of free governments. Section I will provide a background survey of international legal protections for freedom of expression. Section II considers the context for these protections by identifying their application specifically in the context of emergent or re-emergent governments. Finally, Section III will outline proposals for international law, including proposed multi-lateral treaty and state practice(s) to achieve the desired protection of freedom of expression globally.



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