History of the Section

Section 15 was modelled on article 19 of the ICCPR. Similar rights exist in comparative law. Refer to Appendix H for further information.

Comparative rights table


Section 15. Freedom of expression

Section 15(1): Every person has the right to hold an opinion without interference.

Section 2): In summary, this provides that people have the right to freedom of expression which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas via any medium.

Section 3): In summary, this provides an express exception to this provision. It states that freedom of expression may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably necessary to respect the rights and reputation of other persons and for the protection of national security, public order, public health or public morality.


Article 19:

  1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
  3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

    (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
    (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
ACT: Human Rights Act 2004

Section 16

S Africa: Constitution of the republic of South Africa 1996 Chapter 2
Section 16
UK: Human Rights Act 1998
Schedule 1, art. 10.
Canada: Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms

Section 2(b).

New Zealand: New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

Section 14