Almost every nation has laws or constitutional provisions that pledge support for freedom of expression. However, in every one of these nations, including the United States of America, freedom of expression is not absolute. Laws and legal interpretations limit the extent of the freedom and provide penalties for violations. Often these limits arise when the principle of freedom of expression appears to conflict with some other social value. For example, the social distress caused by sexually explicit communication leads to laws that restrict what is defined as obscene communication. Unrestrained reporting about a gruesome murder case can be seen as harming a criminal defendant's right to a fair trial.
Another area where these conflicts are marked is that of defamation, the laws and court rulings dealing with the problems of libel and slander. We live in a society that places a high value on an individual's good name and reputation.