Freedom of expression and opinion

Trade unionists should be free to hold opinions without interference and exchange information and ideas through any media, regardless of borders. The State must not interfere with the exchange of information. Examples of this might be: tampering with correspondence; surveillance of workers in respect of trade union activities; or interference in union meetings and the exercise of free speech.

Here is an application in practice drawn from the CFA Digest:

The fear of the authorities of seeing a trade union newspaper serve political ends unrelated to trade union activities or which, at least, lie far outside their normal scope, is not sufficient reason to refuse to allow such a newspaper to appear. However, it is only in so far as trade union organizations take care not to allow their occupational demands to assume a clearly political aspect that they can legitimately claim that there should be no interference in their activities.

License to publish

Key principles related to the license to publish include:

  • The giving of a mandatory license for publication should not be at the mere discretion of the licensing authorities;
  • In practice, the issuance of a license should not be a way to restrain the publication’s subject matter;
  • Applications for licenses should be dealt with quickly;
  • Fees or bonds should not restrict publication;
  • If authorities want to withdraw licenses or control printing facilities or paper supply, this should be subject to judicial review.