Freedom of Speech Day Date in the current year: September 20, 2024

Freedom of Speech Day On September 20, some Spanish-speaking countries (for example, Venezuela, Peru and Uruguay) celebrate Freedom of Speech Day (Día de la Libertad de Expresión de Pensamiento, literally “Freedom of Thought Expression Day”). It is dedicated to freedom of speech and expression, which is one of the fundamental human rights in a democratic society.

Freedom of Speech Day commemorates the anniversary of the capture of Rome on September 20, 1870. It was the final event of the Risorgimento, the political and social movement that resulted in the unification of Italy in 1861. As soon as the Kingdom of Italy was established, the Parliament declared Rome its capital.

However, the government of the newly created state did not control its capital because Rome was taken by a French garrison that supported Pope Pius IX. Napoleon III recalled the garrison from Rome in 1870, and the Italian army led by General Cadorna began to advance toward the city. The siege of Rome began on September 19, and the next day the Italians breached the city walls at Porta Pia and entered Rome, completing the unification of Italy.

But what does the breach of Porta Pia have to do with freedom of speech? The thing is, the capture of Rome meant the collapse of papal authority based on religious dogma, and the transition to democratic values (the Kingdom of Italy was a constitutional monarchy, not an absolute one), including freedom of speech and expression.

Freedom of opinion and expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. According to the Declaration, this right includes freedom to hold opinions, as well as to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

In addition to Freedom of Speech Day, there are other observances dedicated to this fundamental right, including Word Press Freedom Day (May 3); freedom of the press, also known as freedom of the media, is closely related to freedom of speech and is often covered by the same laws.

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Freedom of Speech Day, Freedom of Expression Day, holidays in Uruguay, holidays in Venezuela, holidays in Peru