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Revista Direito GV

versão On-line ISSN 2317-6172


MACEDO JUNIOR, Ronaldo Porto. Freedom of Expression: what lessons should we learn from US experience?. Rev. direito GV [online]. 2017, vol.13, n.1, pp.274-302. ISSN 2317-6172.

Freedom of Expression is becoming a theme of growing importance and visibility in Brazil. Newspapers report daily legal suits against “hate speech” concerning race and religious discrimination. Many courts are also imposing high compensation damages that are challenging the “right to ridicule” in comedy shows and newspapers cartoons. The Brazilian public opinion in general tends to be sympathetic to more restrictive rules that may threaten freedom of expression in Brazil. There is nowadays in Brazil an unexpected agreement among the right wing, religious groups, and many human rights movements that support a European model of free speech. In many ways, the “Brazilian Model” based on balancing doctrine and a vague conceptualization of Human Dignity gives a lot of discretion for courts to decide the limits of freedom of expression. Court decisions based on balancing rhetoric is becoming dominant in Brazilian Constitutional court and usually try to avoid some epistemological issues concerning objectivity and moral justification. This article advocates that Brazilian interpretation of freedom expression has a lot to learn from the US model and doctrine. The US more strict and conceptual jurisprudence on this issue offers a powerful and democratic alternative to the balancing model and represents a rich conceptual analysis still unknown by Brazilian courts.

Palavras-chave : Freedom of Expression; hate speech; balancing doctrine; Brazilian interpretation; US model.

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