The ease with which an individual opinion can cause international conflict has created the need for new regulation.
Freedom of speech is respected across most of the Western world, is a tenet of American civil liberties, and is protected in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld First Amendment protection of defamatory statements regarding government, gender, sexuality, race, and religion.
While frowned upon in the U.S., the Supreme Court has a record of allowing defamatory statements or behavior, even if they are seen as inflammatory (see Terminiello v. Chicago, National Socialist Party v. Skokie, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul). In all three cases, the majority opinion has overturned the right of states to prohibit speech based on content, regardless of racially or religiously charged language.