Protection Of Advertising As A Form Of Commercial Expression Essays
Freedom of expression forms one of the fundamental human rights afforded to individuals across the globe. Enshrined in human rights laws, such as the ECHR, ACHR and Banjul Charter, this freedom grants individuals the right to enjoy “free access [to] information and ideas, and to express their views freely.” However, this freedom has sparked debate as to the forms of speech which may or may not be classified under the umbrella term of ‘expression.’ Such contention is often focused on commercial expression and, in particular, advertising. The question invariably arises as to whether or not this form of expression is, and should be, protected as a freedom under human rights laws.
The difficulty lies first, and foremost, in determining which types of speech can be concluded as ‘advertising’ for the purposes of commercial expression. Much like the Supreme Court of Canada, the European Courts have refrained from providing a hard and fast definition of what ‘expression’ may encompass, and as such, any rules surrounding protection of advertising are few and far between. However, case law has provided that where speech has significant public interest it is “not to be categorized as commercial” as it was not made “solely for economic reasons.” This may become arduous in situations where statements intend to both promote sales and weigh in on controversial subjects, though it can be safely assumed that…