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Freedom of Speech and the Role of Constitutional Courts: The Cases of Indonesia and South Korea

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Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that must be protected in a democratic society. However, there is an alarming problem in many countries where governments limit freedom of speech by targeting people espousing views contrary to those of the government. Many free speech cases handled by the Constitutional Courts of Indonesia and Korea demonstrate a gradual decline in the quality of democracy there. This article aims to assess the extent to which the Constitutional Courts’ role and responsibilities contribute to the protection of freedom of speech. Through its decisions, the Constitutional Courts in those two countries have contributed to institutionalizing freedom of speech as a permanent fixture of democracy by keeping the state institutions transparent and making the state responsive to public opinion and criticism. Although freedom of speech is not an absolute right and can be limited, the limitation should be done only under strict conditions, where it is required and proportionate. When dealing with freedom of speech cases in any future judgments, the Constitutional Courts should consider the proportionality test against State arguments. This method would allow the Courts to determine the limitation in freedom of speech cases.

Keywords: freedom of speech, democracy, Constitutional Court, Indonesia, South Korea

Suggested Citation: M Lutfi Chakim, Freedom of Speech and the Role of Constitutional Courts: The Cases of Indonesia and South Korea, Volume 10 Number 2, May-August 2020, 191-205.

This article has been published in Indonesia Law Review, Volume 10 Number 2, May - August 2020. To read the full article, find out via the link here!

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