International System of Protection

International System of Protection

The resources on this Module highlight the many commonalities between the United Nations system of protection for freedom of expression, and the regional systems in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Readings focus on their birth and development, their main treaties and freedom of expression provisions, and their corresponding instruments of enforcement and accountability, primarily Courts.

10 items found, showing 1 - 10
Author: UNESCO
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“The surge of access to information (ATI) laws reached 126 worldwide by the end of 2019. This Report explores recent developments in regard to the laws and their implementation, covering evolving international standards, models for implementation bodies, and new digital challenges and opportunities. In order to understand the drivers of change, the Report examines trendsetting activities within UNESCO, the Sustainable Development Agenda, the Universal Periodic Review, the Open Government Partnership, and the standard-setting work of regional intergovernmental organizations and national oversight bodies. The research also draws on unique UNESCO surveys and analysis of Voluntary National Reports presented at the United Nation’s High-level Political Forum. The research shows how Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 offers a new opportunity for advancing ATI.”

UNESCO. “Access to Information: A New Promise for Sustainable Development”. 2019. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371485.

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Agnès Callamard reviews the international context which presided over the development and adoption of the ICCPR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the various debates which characterized the drafting of the provision related to freedom of expression. Callamard also explains two additional institutions which have made the ICCPR a particularly important tool for the protection of human rights and freedom of expression in particular.

Author: UN Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Freedom of Opinion and Expression
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“This research report concerns the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and through any media – including in the form of art. As such, it provides an overview of the human rights law framework applicable to artistic freedom of expression, highlights several contemporary instances of threat to artistic freedom, and concludes with a limited number of recommendations for States, private actors and civil society.” 

UN Human Rights Council (Forty-Fourth Session), Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Artistic Freedom of Expression. A/HRC/44/49/Add.2. July 2020. 

Author: Susan Benesch
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“Private social media companies regulate much more speech than any government does, and their platforms are being used to bring about serious harm. Yet companies govern largely on their own, and in secret. To correct this, advocates have proposed that companies follow international human-rights law. That law–by far the world’s best-known rules for governing speech–could improve regulation itself, and would also allow for better transparency and oversight on behalf of billions of people who use social media. This paper argues that for this to work, the law must first be interpreted to clarify how (and whether) each of its provisions are suited to this new purpose. For example, the law provides that speech may be restricted to protect national security, as one of only five permissible bases for limiting speech. Governments, for which international law was written, may regulate on that basis, but not private companies which have no national security to protect. To fill some of the gap, the paper explains and interprets the most relevant provisions of international human-rights law–Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which pertain to freedom of expression–for use by social media companies, in novel detail.”

Benesch, Susan. “But Facebook’s Not a Country: How to Interpret Human Rights Law for Social Media Companies.” Yale Journal on Regulation Online Bulletin 38 (2020): 86-111.

Author: Nani Jansen Reventlow
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“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes important transparency and accountability requirements on different actors who process personal data. This is great news for the protection of individual data privacy. However, given that “personal information and human stories are the raw material of journalism,” what does the GDPR mean for freedom of expression and especially for journalistic activity? This essay argues that, although EU states seem to have taken their data protection obligations under the GDPR seriously, efforts to balance this against the right to freedom of expression have been more uneven. The essay concludes that it is of key importance to ensure that the GDPR's safeguards for data privacy do not compromise a free press.”

Reventlow, Nani Jansen. “Can the GDPR and Freedom of Expression Coexist?”. AJIL Unbound 114 (2020): 31-34.

Catalina Botero: Role of the IACHR's Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalizationcreated by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero explains what is the role of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in the defense of the freedom of expression in the Americas

Author: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero
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In this segment of the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero gives a brief explanation of the Inter-American Human Rights System and mention some of the most emblematic freedom of expression cases of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Author: Síofra O’Leary
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In this speech delivered by Síofra O’Leary at the ‘Conference The European Convention of Human Rights at 70: Milestones and Major Achievements’ in September 2020, she emphasises on certain themes which merit attention in an era of rapid technological development. She notes, “It’s commonplace that the digital era in which we now live has had significant legal effects primarily in two areas of Convention law: freedom of expression, protected by Article 10, which also covers the right to receive and impart information, and the right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8. Think of the endorsement of the internet as one of the principal means of expression in Ahmet Yildirim v. Turkey, or recognition of the risks it entails in Editorial Board of Pravoye Delo and Shtekel v. Ukraine. Think of the establishment of safeguards and protection regarding the use of geolocation devices by State actors in Uzun or Ben Faiza, the liability of internet news portals for customer comments in Delfi v. Estonia, or even the all-essential balancing of expression and privacy rights when it comes to the right to be forgotten the subject of M.L. and W.W. v. Germany, to name but a few. However, today I prefer to concentrate on Convention articles which have been treated as more peripheral in discussions relating to the consequences for human rights of technology and digitalisation: 1) jurisdiction within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention (II); 2) challenges posed by technological advances for the judicial process itself, given the standards in Article 6 (III); 3) legal questions which may arise in relation to the right to free elections, guaranteed by Article 3 of Protocol n° 1 (VI), and, 4) the consequences, if any, in a digitally dependent world, for the right not to be deprived of an education in Article 2 of Protocol n° 1 (VII).”

O’Leary, Síofra. “Conference The European Convention of Human Rights at 70: Milestones and Major Achievements – Human Rights and Technological Developments”. 2020. https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Speech_20200918_O_Leary_Conference_70_years_Convention_ENG.pdf.  

Author: Alexandra Huneeus
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“The power of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) to shape government behavior varies greatly from country to country. All states subject to the Court’s jurisdiction accept its authority to adjudicate disputes, and all take at least some meaningful steps toward judgment compliance. […] But in some states the Court’s judgments play a far greater role: they are untethered from the particular dispute that gives rise to them and take on a life as law-like rules that guide the subsequent behavior of public actors and the outcomes of disputes that never reach the Court. In some states the Court’s judgments even come to shape policymaking and public debates, constraining the range of options that are put on the table […] This article demonstrates that variation of the Inter-American Court’s authority across states can be explained in great part by the practice of constitutional law in each state. This is not to say that differences in constitutional texts explain the variation. Rather, the article suggests that for the Court’s authority to expand beyond mere judgment compliance, two factors other than the black-letter law must be in place. The first factor is the presence of lawyers—be they scholars, judges, public-interest lawyers, or other practitioners—who adhere to and promote a particular vision of constitutional law as containing within it international human rights law. […] The second factor explaining this variation is that those who advance these ideas must have political impact at the national level: they must be able to forge alliances with legislative and executive reformers who adopt the movement’s vision of law and advance it as part of their own project of political reform.”

Alexandra Huneeus, Constitutional Lawyers and the Inter-American Court’s Varied Authority, 79 Law and Contemporary Problems 179-207 (2016) 
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol79/iss1/7

Author: M.G. Wallace
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This article examines the constitutionality of Sedition Laws in the United States and its relation with the freedom of speech and expression. The author also provides an account of the historical underpinnings of Sedition Laws.

Wallace, M. G. "Constitutionality of Sedition Laws." Virginia Law Review 6, no. 6 (1920): 385-99. doi:10.2307/1064269.