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Jul 22, 2021

Senior Counsel on Freedom of Expression

Andrew Marshalleck

For a different legal perspective on free speech, News Five spoke with Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck.  He says that the constitution is quite clear on certain restrictions, including the fact that one cannot purposely spread misinformation. He says fact-checking is key and other laws must be respected. 


Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney-at-law

“Well I think the law on this has always been pretty clear, the right to protection of freedom of expression is vested, is provided for in Section Twelve of our constitution.  There is the right to freely express one’s self subject to certain limitations.  The freedom, the right, of course, cannot be exercised at the expense of others or at the expense of the public good.  So there’s always been recognized limitations to the right. You can’t knowingly present or promote misinformation or anything that’s defamatory or otherwise unlawful.  So, so long as what you’re presenting can be scientifically fact-checked and has a basis in truth, I would think it can be said.  The philosophical underpinning of the right and its limitations comes from the notion that silencing opinion is wrong and some people are of the view, notable philosophers have taken the view that it’s wrong, even if the opinion is false because knowledge comes from the collision of truth with error.  It is recognized that if something has a threat to public health, a law can be passed to restrain it and there are existing laws, I understand, that already do so, although not in so many words.  So the long and short to your question is that yes, there is a right to express your views and to even publicly disseminate them, but in doing so you have to act responsibly and in accordance with law.  It means no defamation and no publications that are otherwise infringing on other laws.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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