The Georgian Far-right through the Lens of Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression According to Georgian Law
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and its protection is vital in order to properly exercise many other rights. Freedom of expression in Georgia is protected by the Constitution of Georgia and the Law of Georgia on Freedom of Speech and Expression. Article 17 of the Georgian Constitution states that “No one shall be persecuted because of his/her opinion or for expressing his/her opinion”, while the Law of Georgia on Freedom of Speech and Expression sets high standard and protects “absolute freedom of thought”. In addition to the national law, freedom of expression is also protected by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Freedom of expression is also closely linked to the right to assemble “publicly and unarmed” and is vital for exercising the aforementioned right. Freedom of assembly is protected by Article 21 of the Georgian Constitution.
However, freedom of expression is not an absolute right. The Constitution of Georgia allows the restriction of that right in exceptional circumstances, such as ensuring national security, public safety, or protecting the rights of others. Any restriction of the right to freedom of expression must be based on incontrovertible evidence and if there is no such evidence the decision must be made in favor of freedom of expression. The Constitution of Georgia also allows the restriction of the freedom of assembly in case “it assumes an unlawful character”. Violation of the right to free speech and assembly is regulated by the Criminal Code of Georgia.