Advertisement and Freedom of Speech in India
By Team Legistify / 2016-03-30
The essence of free speech is the ability to think and speak freely and to obtain information from others through publications and public discourse without fear of retribution, restriction, or repression by the government. Advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action.

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Article 19(1)(a) guarantees to all citizens the freedom of speech and expression. The freedom of speech and expression means the freedom to convey effectively one’s thoughts and feelings.The freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental freedom, one without which a liberal society cannot exist. Under the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of media is also implied. Any expression of ideas, values, opinions communicated to the the public at large through the various media inter alia- press, films, radio, television and all other forms of mass communication come under what the Apex Court interprets as 'commercial speech' or 'commercial expression' under the Freedom of speech and expression.

Apex Court has held advertisements to be 'Commercial Speech'

The Supreme Court of India has held that advertisements, regarded as commercial speech, form part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression recognised under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

Illustration of restriction on Speech- Political Speech V/s Commercial Speech

Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important Fundamental Rights available to a citizen of a liberal, democratic country. Speech can be categorized inter alia most critically important from the point of view of the spirit of democracy to what might constitute ‘commercial speech’ which are the expression of ideas, values etc with the end game of vowing consumers to further business interests.

The essence of free speech is the ability to think and speak freely and to obtain information from others through publications and public discourse without fear of retribution, restriction, or repression by the government. Advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action.

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