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Right to freedom of information, opinion and expression

Rights and Freedoms
UDHR poster freedom of expression

Introduction  | Commission work | Submissions |  Reports | Casenotes | Speeches and opinion | Projects on access and safety online | Comments



This page provides access to a range of Commission work regarding the right to freedom of information, opinion and expression. 

More resources are available on our Human Rights: Right by Right page for freedom of information, opinion and expression, including

  • the Human Rights Committee's General Comments on  ICCPR Article 19 and consideration of complaints under the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR
  • the work of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
  • information on common law and Constitutional protection of freedom of expression
  • protection in State and Territory laws
  • protection in other human rights instruments
  • links and further information

Commission work

Media and information access for people with disability

See our media access and information access pages in the Disability Rights section of this site

Projects on access and safety in online information and communication

As noted by the Human Rights Committee, Article 19 requires protection of the right to seek as well as impart information. It also applies to any media, and so applies to online information and communication as well as older media such as print, radio and television.  

The Commission has worked on a range of barriers to exercise of the right to freedom of information and expression in online environments. For more details see



  • No. 32 - Report of an inquiry into a complaint made on behalf of federal prisoners detained in New South Wales correctional centres that their human rights have been breached by the decision to ban distribution of the magazine 'Framed' (2006)

    Breach of right to freedom of expression and information found; limitations in ICCPR Article 19.3 found not to apply

    Human rights considered: ICCPR Articles 19.2, 19.3


Casenote: Monis v The Queen (March 2013)

In Attorney-General for South Australia v Corporation of the City of Adelaide and Ors a majority of the Court upheld a local government by-law prohibiting activities such as preaching or distributing pamphlets on public roads (such as footpaths or malls) without permission. The Human Rights Law Centre has criticised the decision on the basis that less restrictive measures could have been taken to protect the rights of other persons

In Monis v the Queen; Doudis v the Queen the Court divided 3 each way on whether provisions in the Criminal Code which prohibit using a postal or similar service in a way that "reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive" are consistent with the freedom of political communication which the Court has previously found to be implicit in the Constitution.The Commission has prepared a brief Casenote discussing the issues in this case.

Speeches and opinion pieces