Young people and freedom of expression in Europe
These materials have been produced by the Finnish Society on Media Education and the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development in their joint project Young people and freedom of expression in Europe. The aim of the project was to enhance the understanding of freedom of expression as a human right among educators working with young people and to provide them with media education tools that they can apply to support young people’s understanding of the importance of freedom of expression in democracy and young people’s role as responsible and constructive agents in the media. The materials can be used freely for educating and when working with young people. The project, which was completed in autumn 2021, was funded by Europe Information.
The material is also available in Finnish, Swedish and Northern Sami.
What is freedom of expression?
Freedom of expression includes the right to express one’s opinions and to receive and impart opinions and information. Under freedom of expression, public authorities do not have the right to impose pre-censorship: public debate, news, speeches or articles cannot be subject to prior restraint, control or editing.
Freedom of expression also includes the use of harsh or even offensive language, but freedom of expression does not give license to insult or discriminate against others or incite violence. Restricting offensive or otherwise damaging speech is not a restriction on freedom of expression. Freedom of expression may also be restricted in order to protect national security and health and to safeguard the reputation and rights of individuals.
Young people’s thoughts on freedom of speech
Watch the video to hear young people’s thoughts on the meaning and limits of freedom of speech, how freedom of speech presents itself in young people’s lives and what everyone can do to promote freedom of speech.
The state of freedom of expression in Europe
Press the plus buttons in the picture below to learn about freedom of expression in different European countries. From the links below you can download a printable version of the infographic (in A3 size) as well as the text equivalent of the infographic.
Tips for safer discussion
You can use this list of tips curated from thoughts and comments given by young people, to improve the security and transparency of your conversations.
Landmarks in freedom of expression in Europe
Get to know some milestones in the history of freedom of speech in Europe, as well as the current situation and future prospects of freedom of speech.
Material produced by:
The Finnish Society on Media Education / Riikka Kaukinen and Marjukka Juhantila
The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development / Susanna Koivistoinen and Annika Belov
Graphics and illustrations: The Finnish Society on Media Education / Marjukka Juhantila
Video description and editing: Mediatuotanto Erik Sundström
Release year: 2022