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Law and the Media, 4th Edition by Estelle Overs, Tom Cassels, Tom Crone

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13 Obscenity, Indecency and Incitement to Racial Hatred

David Green

13.1 Introduction

English law imposes restrictions on freedom of expression by regulating and prohibiting the publication and distribution of material that is considered to be obscene, indecent or racially offensive.

Any law based upon prevailing attitudes towards morality and aimed primarily at literature and images may encounter controversy. It is perhaps difficult to reach any sort of consensus about which words or images are so harmful to society that their production and distribution should be punishable under the criminal law. Parliament has, however, devised tests of obscenity, indecency and racial hatred and legislated against their publication in:

■  The Obscene Publications ...

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