Conflict of Rights and Interests

Conflict of rights and interests

International human rights law suggests a “balance of rights” approach to assess the legitimacy of state restriction to freedom of expression. The resources on this Module survey the application of this test to various areas of conflict, such as defamation and national security. Readings cover various national practices, and jurisprudence, along with academic critiques.

7 items found, showing 11 - 7


Author: Jeremy Bentham
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Bentham’s statement of press freedom argues to permit political associations/assemblies in public and resistance to governmental authority as a check to abuse of power. Special mention of permitting criticism, including of state officials, and a discussion of how sedition and defamation of public officials should be addressed.

Bentham, Jeremy. The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 2. Available from

Author: IACmHR, Catalina Botero Marino
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PowerPoint Presentation created by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. This presentation is used by the Office in their training sessions. It addresses the Inter-American human rights system, explains the mandate of the Office of the Special Rapporteur, and refers to the jurisprudence and standards on: prohibition of prior censorship, prohibition of desacato laws, proportionality of subsequent liability, prohibition of indirect restrictions on speech, access to information and violence against media workers. .

OAS, IACmHR, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero. PowerPoint Presentation  for a training session about Inter American Standards on freedom of expression. 2013

Author: UN Special Rapporteur Ambeyi Ligabo
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The report (A/HRC/4/27) is divided in three chapters. Chapter III addresses, among others, "future establishment of an intergovernmental body dealing with Internet governance and its role in limiting commercial pressure on, inter alia, a human rights approach to Internet freedom. The Special Rapporteur also addresses the necessity of swift action from Governments and Parliaments in order to decriminalize defamation and related offences. Finally, the Special Rapporteur examines the most recent initiatives with regard to security and protection of journalists and media professionals, and their repercussion on the availability of independent information and opinion-making. In addition to the proposed study on this matter, the Special Rapporteur also launches the idea of a voluntary fund to provide financial relief to the families of journalists killed while performing their duties or because of their activities, especially in developing countries” 

UN, Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo. Report on the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Denmark, Internet governance and digital democracy, decriminalization of defamation offences, and security and protection of media professionals.A/HRC/4/271. 2 January 2007.

Author: UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression
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The Special Rapporteurs identify the ten key challenges to freedom of expression in the next decade: Mechanisms of Government Control over the Media, Criminal Defamation, Violence Against Journalists, Limits on the Right to Information, Discrimination in the Enjoyment of the Right to Freedom of Expression, Commercial Pressures, Support for Public Service and Community Broadcasters, Security and Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Expression on the Internet, Access to Information and Communications Technologies.

UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression. Tenth Anniversary Joint Declaration: Ten key challenges to freedom of expression in the next decade2 February 2010.

Author: IACmHR, SRFoE Catalina Botero
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“The objective of this publication is to present inter-American jurisprudence that defines the scope and content of this right in a systematic and updated way. Among the most important topics it highlights: the importance, function, and characteristics of the right to freedom of expression, as well as the types of speech protected; the prohibition of censorship and indirect restrictions; the protection of journalists and social communications media; the exercise of freedom of expression by public officials; and freedom of expression in the area of electoral processes.”

OAS, IACmHR, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero. The Inter-American Legal Framework Regarding the Right to Freedom of Expression. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. CIDH/RELE/INF. 2/09. 30 December 2009

Author: Catalina Botero Marino, Federico Guzmán Duque, Sofía Jaramillo Otoya, Salomé Gómez Upegui
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“This guide was designed as a basic and synthetic input to help judges and legal practitioners across the Americas who must apply international (especially inter-American) standards that enshrine and protect the fundamental right to freedom of expression.” Available only in Spanish.

C. Botero Marino, F. Guzmán Duque, S. Jaramillo Otoya, S. Gómez Upegui. El Derecho A La Libertad De Expresión: Curso avanzado para jueces y operadores jurídicos en las Américas: Guía curricular y materiales de estudio. July 2017.

Author: Media Legal Defence Initiative
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"This manual has been produced as a resource material for training workshops on media and freedom of expression law. It contains resources and background material to help trainers prepare and participants to understand the issues being discussed [...] The manual and training presentations are aimed at an audience of lawyers, with experience of litigation, but not necessarily of media, freedom of expression or human rights law. It covers international and comparative law only, and should be supplemented with relevant national law standards for the country in which they are being used.” 

Media Legal Defence Initiative. Training Manual on international and comparative media and freedom of expression law (2013).