Understanding the Right to Freedom
Restrictions on individual liberties
These liberties, recognized as belonging to both adults and children, are commonly known as fundamental rights—that is to say, rights which the population is entitled to fully enjoy without government intrusion. Nevertheless, the proper exercise of these liberties, taken in conjunction with the need for public order, national security, the preservation of moral values, as well as respect for the rights of one’s fellowman—all of this necessarily entails that some restrictions be placed upon these liberties.
• Only the freedom of thought, conscience and opinion are subject to no real restriction. Each and every person is free to think what he or she likes without fear of government interference so long as his or her opinions remain private.
• Freedom of expression is limited, most notably as it pertains to the violation of moral values and to the transmission of messages that incite hatred and violence (racism, discrimination, etc.)
• Access to information is an important aspect of the right to the free exchange of ideas and information. Today, it is important that this right is guaranteed to children, albeit in a manner that protects them from those ideas and information that could have a nefarious effect on their psychological development. New communication tools, the disappearance of taboos and the spread of information which lay bare the reality and atrocities of the world for all to see, prompt young people to adopt extreme forms of behavior. It is thus necessary to limit and filter such information and to offer young people those kinds of information that are at once entertaining and useful to their development.
• Freedom of religion is not an unlimited right and can be restricted to the extent that its practitioners constitute a threat to the public order and to the rights of others. So long as this is not the case, one’s choice of religion should not be subject to restriction.