Public speeches, articles and other forms of expression may seriously harm or even stir up hatred or violence against another person or group. Therefore, the freedom of expression of one person or group must be balanced against the rights of others. Freedom of expression may be restricted where the person or group exercising it violates the rights of another person or group or the democratic values of society at large.
This also applies to the freedom to access information. For example, officers from intelligence agencies are prohibited from revealing information that they have acquired while fulfilling their duties.
Nevertheless, any restrictions to freedom of expression must be lawful and must be an exception made on individual cases. Therefore, the police, the courts, state institutions and even private companies and organisations must demonstrate that any restrictive measure:
- is established by law
- pursues a legitimate aim
- is necessary to ensure that legitimate aim and
- is proportional