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 11 - 10

International Law

Author: Jem Thomas, Anna Averkiou, Terri Judd, Sarah Kelly
Media Type Icon

Law enforcement agencies face challenges in balancing freedom of expression with maintaining public order. They must manage safety issues, manage elections, natural disasters, and health emergencies while promoting respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Political, social, and economic factors contribute to these difficult situations. Journalists' freedoms are increasingly threatened, with 1,088 journalists killed in the past 12 years. In 2022, 45 media professionals were killed, prompting governments and law enforcement agencies to address public order issues, work with journalists, and communicate effectively with the public.

"Through the seven modules in this toolkit, officers and trainers can better appreciate how to equitably balance their public safety and order duties while enabling freedom of expression, and its associated freedoms, through better communications, provision of information, supporting the legal process, and enabling journalists to work safely."

Jem Thomas, Anna Averkiou, Terri Judd and Sarah Kelly. 'Global toolkit for law enforcement agents: freedom of expression, access to Information and safety of journalists'. 2022.

Author: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Media Type Icon

The Guidelines aim to promote freedom of expression and information access while addressing illegal and harmful content. They call for states to apply regulation in accordance with international human rights standards and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Guidelines serve as a resource for policymakers, regulatory bodies, digital platforms, and civil society in their advocacy and accountability efforts. They will inform regulatory processes for digital platforms, leading them in an open, transparent, multistakeholder, and evidence-based manner. The Guidelines will contribute to UN-wide processes, such as the Global Digital Compact, the UN Summit of the Future, and the Code of Conduct for public information integrity.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 'Guidelines for regulating digital platforms: A multistakeholder approach to safeguarding freedom of expression and access to information'. 2023.

Author: Kenneth W. Abbott, Duncan Snidal
Media Type Icon

The authors "examine why international actors-including states, firms, and activists-seek different types of legalized arrangements to solve political and substantive problems. [They] show how particular forms of legalization provide superior institutional solutions in different circumstances. [They] begin by examining the baseline advantages of "hard" legalization (that is, precise, legally binding obligations with appropriate third-party delegation). [They] emphasize, however, that actors often prefer softer forms of legalization (that is, various combinations of reduced precision, less stringent obligation, and weaker delegation). Soft legalization has a number of significant advantages, including that it is easier to achieve, provides strategies for dealing with uncertainty, infringes less on sovereignty, and facilitates compromise among differentiated actors. Although [their] approach is largely interest-based, [they] explicitly incorporate the normative elements that are central in law and in recent international relations theorizing. [They] also consider the important role of nonstate actors who, along with states, are central participants in contemporary international legalization. [They] illustrate the advantages of various forms of international legal arrangements with examples drawn from articles in this special issue and elsewhere.

Kenneth W. Abbott and Duncan Snidal, “Hard and Soft Law in International Governance,” International Organization, 54 (2000)

Author: Beth Simmons
Media Type Icon

"The first section of this essay defines a few key terms and provides some historical background on the relationship between international law and international relations. The second section discusses the major theoretical approaches, from those that highlight material incentives to those that rest on more ideational foundations. The third section discusses international law development – concepts of legalization, judicialization, constitutionalization, and global administrative law. The fourth section reviews theories and empirical studies of compliance with public international law. The final section concludes that theory has become less compartmentalized by “school” and empirical research has become more rigorous over the past decade."

Beth Simmons. International Law, in Handbook of International Relations, Sage Publications, 2012, pp.352-378 

Author: Kate Jones
Media Type Icon

“There is a widespread desire to tackle online interference with elections and political discourse. To date, much of the debate has focused on what processes should be established without adequate consideration of what norms should underpin those processes. Human rights law should be at the heart of any discussion of regulation, guidance, corporate or societal responses. The UN Secretary- General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation has recently reached a similar conclusion, stating ‘there is an urgent need to examine how time-honoured human rights frameworks and conventions should guide digital cooperation and digital technology’. This paper attempts to contribute to this examination. Chapter 2 of this paper clarifies terms and concepts discussed. Chapter 3 provides an overview of cyber activities that may influence voters. Chapter 4 summarizes a range of responses by states, the EU and digital platforms themselves. Chapter 5 discusses relevant human rights law, with specific reference to: the right to freedom of thought, and the right to hold opinions without interference; the right to privacy; the right to freedom of expression; and the right to participate in public affairs and vote. Chapter 6 offers some conclusions, and sets out recommendations on how human rights ought to guide state and corporate responses.”

Kate Jones. “Online Disinformation and Political Discourse: Applying a Human Rights Framework”. 2019.

Author: United Nations General Assembly
Media Type Icon

The UN resolution acknowledges that some new and emerging technologies may not be compatible with international human rights law. Evidence shows that emotion recognition technologies are fundamentally incompatible with human rights, and future resolutions should ban these technologies. The resolution also introduces stronger language on remote biometric surveillance systems, such as facial recognition, which raises concerns about their proportionality. The increasing use of biometric technologies has chilling effects on freedom of expression and behaviour, deterring people from participating in public assemblies or expressing their ideas or religious beliefs. Governments are called to prohibit remote biometric identification in publicly accessible spaces and mass surveillance. However, the core group failed to address new challenges for privacy, such as social media monitoring. The resolution is urged to include strong recommendations to ensure social media intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing strictly conforms with human rights standards and data protection frameworks.

UN, Human Rights Council. Resolution 54/21. Right to privacy in the digital age. A/HRC/RES/54/21. 12 October 2023.

Author: Dafna Dror-Shpoliansky, OECD Secretariat (Audrey Plonk, Lisa Robinson, Gallia Daor and Nora Beauvais)
Media Type Icon

"This paper considers the impact of digital transformation on internationally recognised human rights, legal and constitutional rights, and domestically protected interests. It considers specific case studies, and provides a brief overview of international and domestic initiatives to protect ‘rights in the digital age’. Developed in the context of the 2022 Ministerial meeting of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy, this paper sets the scene for further discussion and supports policy makers in designing and achieving a rights-oriented and human-centric digital transformation."

Dafna Dror-Shpoliansky. 'Rights in the Digital Age: Challenges and Ways forward'. 2022.

Author: Irene Khan
Media Type Icon

"In the present report, the Special Rapporteur explores the linkages between the right to freedom of expression, including the right to information, and sustainable development. She introduces a paradigm shift in looking at sustainable development through the lens of freedom of expression. While recognizing important progress made in normative standards for access to information, the Special Rapporteur highlights that more is needed to ensure that the voices of those most disadvantaged in society are heard. She argues that only when both access to information and the effective participation of youth, Indigenous communities, the media, human rights defenders, civil society actors and others are fulfilled will the promise to leave no one behind be realized. As world leaders prepare to gather at the United Nations Headquarters in September 2023 to review progress on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, the Special Rapporteur calls for renewed political commitment to uphold freedom of expression, an enabler of sustainable development."

UN, Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan. Report on Sustainable development and freedom of expression: why voice matters. A/HRC/53/25. 19 April 2023. 

Author: Article 19
Media Type Icon

Freedom of expression and access to information is an essential human rights right that enables public engagement and participation in decision-making. It is integrated into the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is incorporated into Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful societies, justice, and effective institutions. However, the world still has a long way to go to meet the SDGs by 2030, particularly Goal 16, which concerns freedom of expression. This briefing assesses the progress of achieving Goal 16 and its contribution to achieving all SDGs, identifies gaps in international processes, and provides recommendations for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The briefing aims to contribute to discussions at the SDGs Summit in September 2023 and help States and the international community determine what must be done to make the most of this stocktaking moment.

Article 19. 'Sustainable Development Goals: On or off track? Assessing the progress through freedom of expression and information'. 2023.

Author: Article 3, Humanity United
Media Type Icon

"The Next 25" is a collection of essays published by to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to look forward to the next 25 years leading up to its 100th Anniversary. "This digital collection, created in collaboration with HRD@75 Partners, aims to enhance awareness and underscore the importance of the ongoing pursuit of freedom, justice, dignity, and equity for all. The essays offer uniquely positioned perspectives on how to effectively "future-proof" human rights for present and future generations, providing a blueprint for human rights stakeholders to use, reference, and build upon."

Article 3 and Humanity United. 'The Next 25: A Collection of Essays on the Future of Human Rights'. 2023.