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Handyside v. the United Kingdom , (5493/72) [1976] ECHR 5 (7 December 1976)

Facts: The applicant is the publisher of the book "The Little Red Schoolbook" which urged young people at whom it was directed to take a liberal attitude in sexual matters. A prosecution was brought against him based on the Obscene Publications Act 1959, as amended by the Obscene Publications Act 1964.

Complaints: The applicant claimed a violation of Article 10

Holding: The ECHR found a violation of Article 10.

Reasoning: The Court noted that freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every person: Freedom of expression applies] not only to "information" or "ideas" that are favorably received ... but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there can be no "democratic society." This means ... that every "formality," "condition," "restriction" or "penalty" imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.






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