With "expression" is meant the uttering of presumed facts, opinions and feelings and all kinds of mixtures of these utterings.
In all cultures - in the past and even today - there has been and is still some repression of expression.
In the past, people were burned at the stake for expressions that did not fit with the Holy texts, e.g. Giordano Bruno was burned for his modern view of an infinite Universe without center, which we now know, was quite precise. And Galileo Galilei who was exiled for claiming that the Earth orbits around the Sun and not the other way around.
All religions have a tendency to restrict expression when it comes to criticize anything in regard to that religion: any part of a Holy text, any batter of a Holy person and any other vision than that of that religion, which all will be regarded as Blasphemy and as a personal insult to believers. In quite some countries this proclaimed blasphemy is even legislated in the constitution (which is terribly false and in flaring contrast with the Freedom of Expression).
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Religion
Erdogan internet block
North Korea Human Rights
China internet censorship
Saudi Arabia Blasphemy
Evelyn Beatrice Hall
Even today we notice a lot of repression of expression, like in Turkey when the prime minister
Erdogan commanded to block internet media like Facebook and Twitter
in which he was accused of fraud. It was also prohibited in Turkey to mention the
Armenian Genocide till recently.
North Korea is the ultimate basher of free expression. Also China tends to repress the internet, and - of course - a lot of Islamic States in which occasionally everything that is NOT in favour of Islam, is forbidden.
One of the best statements ever made that promotes tolerance for Freedom of Expression is the famous phrase of Evelyn Beatrice Hall who wrote a biography on Voltaire in which she praises him as a champion on Free Speech which is often unfairly attributed to Voltaire:
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
in which the essence of Freedom of Expression is stated, namely that the expression of another can hurt your deepest feelings tremendously, but will prevent misunderstanding and physical violence - at least in a civilized society where law enforcement prevails in which Freedom of Expression is safeguarded as one of the highest values of civilization.
(this cartoon is 12 years old!)
To condemn an expression is not because of its contents but because of its purpose. When the contents can be proven to be a lie and the underlying motive was hatred, the right on Free Expression has been violated. E.g. when a person denies the Holocaust, not in order to prove with new facts that it did not happen, but was intended through blind hate for Jews, without any knowledge of the mere facts (and no interest in them what so ever).
One of todays dangers is political correctness in which opponents are put down as islamofobes, racists, neonazi's, extreme right, in order to muzzle them. Most media are historically in the hands of extreme left. News paper editors and discussion site moderators censor the opinion of dissenters.
The free thinkers of the past Millennium fought against Christian suppression, for womens liberation and for sexual liberation.
Since the mass immigration of Muslims and other cultures, these free thinkers all over again have to fight against Islam suppression, for womens liberation and sexual liberation (because the Middle Ages have been imported with this mass immigration), and even more have to fight against the political correctors who still want to defend multicultural society as it has turned out, and Freedom of Religion as it is abused. (I am also a big promotor of a multicultural society (let's blend!) but not every imported culture is an enrichment. Only the imported culture that is open to blend in, is welcomed. When it wants to dominate and suppress other cultures it is not).