Meaning a Global Perspective

Meaning of a Global Perspective

A global perspective on freedom of expression borrows from different disciplines and theories, including international law, global norms formation, comparative jurisprudence and international legal pluralism. As such, it covers the international institutions, treaties, soft law and jurisprudence underpinning international free speech standards. It includes analyses of national constitutions, laws and jurisprudences to identify convergence and conflicts across jurisdictions. It focuses on the extent to which global norms of freedom of expression have emerged and cascaded around the world and the actors and forces responsible for it. Finally, a global perspective on freedom of expression is predicated on the notion that multiple legal orders support judicial dialogues but the existence of a “global village of precedents.”

10 items found, showing 1 - 10

International Law

Author: Alex Joel
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This paper aims to identify practical measures to ensure beneficial cross-border data flows continue while addressing the risks they pose. It emphasizes the importance of commercial privacy and trusted government access in achieving trust. A trusted framework for cross-border data flows must be open to democracies operating under the rule of law, rights-protective, practicable, and scalable. The framework should provide meaningful privacy safeguards enforced through effective accountability mechanisms, be achievable by democracies that respect the rule of law, and be scalable to keep up with rapid global change. The paper suggests stakeholders should initiate a multilateral, transparent process that focuses on commercial privacy and trusted government access.

Author: Laura Winninger
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Access Now published a report that explains what role internet shutdowns and service disruptions play in the investigations of international crimes. With the case law on international criminal liability in relation to internet shutdowns and service disruptions being meager, Access Now highlights one ruling only - the 2011 ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I decision in the Situation in Libya case - and marks the decision’s significance as the ICC acknowledged shutdowns' relevance. Yet, the report notes the decision is “insufficient to deter authorities from shutting down internet and telecommunications services during conflicts and civil unrest.” Access Now calls on “courts with jurisdiction over international crimes (i) to examine the precedent set by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I in the Situation in Libya, and (ii) to give due consideration to shutdowns and disruptions of internet and telecommunications services in evaluating the cases brought before them.

Laura Winninger. Legal Explainer: Internet and Telecommunications Shutdowns in the Assessment of International Crimes. Access Now, 2024. 

Author: Robert Howse, Ruti Teitel
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"The conceptual, and more recently empirical, study of compliance has become a central preoccupation, and perhaps the fastest growing subfield, in international legal scholarship. The authors seek to question this trend. They argue that looking at the aspirations of international law through the lens of rule compliance leads to inadequate scrutiny and understanding of the diverse complex purposes and projects that multiple actors impose and transpose on international legality, and especially a tendency to oversimplify if not distort the relation of inter-national law to politics. Citing a range of examples from different areas of international law – ranging widely from international trade and investment to international criminal and humanitarian law – the authors seek to show how the concept of compliance (especially viewed as rule observance) is inadequate for understanding how international law has normative effects. A fundamental flaw of compliance studies is that they abstract from the problem of interpretation: interpretation is pervasively determinative of what happens to legal rules when they are out in the world, yet ‘compliance’ studies begin with the notion that there is a stable and agreed meaning to a rule, and we need merely to observe whether it is obeyed."

Robert Howse and Ruti Teitel, “Beyond Compliance: Rethinking Why International Law Really Matters,” Global Policy, 1 (2010)

Author: United Nations General Assembly
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"The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 76/227. In it, the Secretary-General describes the challenges posed by disinformation and the responses to it, sets out the relevant international legal framework and discusses measures that States and technology enterprises reported to have taken to counter disinformation. The Secretary-General notes that countering the different manifestations of disinformation requires addressing underlying societal tensions, fostering respect for human rights, online and offline, and supporting a plural civic space and media landscape."

UN, General Assembly. Report of the Secretary-General. Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. A/77/287. 12 August 2022.

Author: School of Public Policy at Central European University, David Kaye
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“In this public talk hosted by the Center for Media, Data and Society at the CEU School of Public Policy, UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye discussed global threats to freedom of expression. He was introduced by Sejal Parmar, Assistant Professor at the CEU Department of Legal Studies. The agenda of the talk and themes discussed in his lecture and in the ensuing Q&A spanned the following: global threats to freedom of expression; how to promote protective measures to free speech, hate speech and access to information; protection of whistleblowers; role and liability of intermediaries and social media companies; surveillance; digital security; transparency; the Bernstein case, Apple v. FBI; code speech; different national security measures on freedom of expression, and the UN standard on the issue; Facebook posts as reasons for prosecution for incitement; Article 19; the right to be forgotten; content discrimination in relation to freedom of expression; Article 19 to promote government transparency and access to information; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement and its academic implications; academic freedom; how the Special Rapporteur prioritizes over requests and communications; and, contempt of court in relation to freedom of expression.”

School of Public Policy at Central European University, David Kaye. “David Kaye on the Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression”. 2016.

Author: East African Court of Justice (EACJ)
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The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) offers a guide to the registry and court users - East Africans and everyone interested in the EACJ. Arranged in a Q&A format, the guide provides answers to more than forty questions, such as “Why is the East African Court of Justice needed?”, “Who may appear or be represented before the Court?”, and “What are the Form and Content of the Court’s Judgments, Rulings, Decisions, Decrees and Orders?”. The guide starts by explaining the Treaty that established the East African Community (EAC), the Treaty’s objectives, and principles. The guide then covers the EACJ’s structure, the scope of its jurisdiction, and the court’s access, trial, and appeal procedures. The guide concludes with a glossary of legal terms as per the meanings assigned to them by the EAC Treaty.

East African Court of Justice (EACJ). Registry / Court Users Guide. EACJ: Arusha, 2023.

Author: European Court of Human Rights
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The ECtHR’s Press Service published an updated factsheet that includes the Court’s case law and pending cases grouped by themes on hate speech. The factsheet explains two approaches used by the Court in considering such cases: 1) “the approach of exclusion from the protection of the Convention,” based on Article 17; and 2) “the approach of setting restrictions on protection,” based on paragraph 2 of Article 10. The two approaches structure the first part of the cases’ list, which is not exhaustive; each case is marked by a narrower corresponding theme (“Threat to the democratic order,” “Racial hate,” “Incitement to violence or hatred against people because of their sexual orientation,” “Incitement to ethnic hatred,” and “Extremism” among many others). The factsheet’s second part contains two big groups of cases sorted as “Online hate speech” and “Hate speech and right of others to respect for private life.” The most recent cases highlighted in the factsheet include Lenis v. Greece and Rivadulla Duró v. Spain (both are decisions on admissibility), Ossewaarde v. Russia, Fragoso Dacosta v. Spain, Sanchez v. France, and Valaitis v. Lithuania



Author: Scholars at Risk
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“Free to Think 2021 is the seventh installment of an annual report by SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The report analyzes 332 attacks on higher education communities in 65 countries and territories around the world between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021. Free to Think 2021 reflects a fraction of attacks on higher education that have occurred over the past year. These attacks demonstrate the range of tactics by diverse actors seeking to punish and silence scholars, students, and other members of higher education communities exercising their right to ideas. They discourage research, teaching, and discussion. They undermine universities, colleges, and research institutions attempting to provide solutions to problems that impact everyone, from COVID-19 to climate change. They impede the ability of higher education to help shape tomorrow’s leaders. We must defend against these attacks. We must strengthen and promote academic freedom and quality higher education. Our future depends on it. Scholars at Risk calls on states, higher education communities, and civil society around the world to respond to these attacks: to reject violence and coercion aimed at restricting inquiry and expression; to protect threatened scholars, students, and higher education institutions; and to reaffirm publicly their commitment to academic freedom and support for the principles that critical discourse is not disloyalty, that ideas are not crimes, and that everyone must be free to think, question, and share their ideas.”

Scholars at Risk. “Free to Think 2021: Report of Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project”. 2021.  

Author: ARTICLE 19
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“In this briefing paper, ARTICLE 19 outlines the importance of protecting women’s freedom of expression when tackling online harassment and abuse, setting out applicable international human rights standards, and how governments must act on this issue in a freedom of expression compliant way. ARTICLE 19 hopes that this briefing paper will offer clear answers to the question of how to strike the right balance between the protection of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of women’s rights as well as robust measures that States must adopt to promote and protect both rights.”

ARTICLE 19. “Freedom of Expression and Women’s Equality: Ensuring Comprehensive Rights Protection”. 2020.

Author: UNESCO
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"With [a] global mandate to protect 'the free flow of ideas by word and image', UNESCO acts worldwide to advance fundamental freedoms, and to ensure that obligations are fulfilled and rights are exercised. [UNESCO works] to increase the knowledge and capacities of judiciary members on international and regional standards on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. As a result, since 2013, more than 18,000 judicial operators and civil society representatives in Latin America, Africa and the Arab region have been trained on these issues. This toolkit on international standards for freedom of expression builds on these efforts, aiming to give a global scope to this endeavour. By reinforcing the knowledge and capacities of the judiciary, the toolkit effectively contributes to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by the UN Chief Executives Board in 2012 and recognised by the UN General Assembly in 2013. The Plan of Action aims to create "a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide". [It is hoped] that this toolkit will be a useful tool for judges, public prosecutors, judicial training institutes, academics and judicial actors at large, so that respect for freedom of expression, public access to information, and the safety of journalists become an integral part of efforts to guarantee and promote human rights in our societies."

UNESCO. “Global Toolkit for Judicial Actors: International Legal Standards on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Safety of Journalists”. 2021.