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.

9 items found, showing 1 - 9

United Nations

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: 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: Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
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Here you will find the Syllabus for the MOOC 'Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization' created by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. This course will examine the norms, institutions and forces that altogether have founded a global system of protection for freedom of expression and information. The Foundational Course will include four main segments. It will first survey the thinking of 19th century and contemporary political theorists, Judges in the early years of the twentieth century, and economists to discover why freedom of expression and information matters, and the values and principles that are established through free speech. The second will review the emergence of an international system of protection for freedom of expression, including the international and regional institutions and standards, and the role of international courts. The third and fourth class will focus on the scope of freedom of expression and on its legitimate limits. We will provide answer two key questions: What kind of speech is protected under international standards? What kind of speech may be restricted by Governments and how can it be legally restricted?

Author: Alan Wehbé
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Wehbé states that there is a duality between the legal recognition and practice of promoting the freedom of expression globally. In particular, at times when such freedom is most vital to the generation of the ‘consent of the governed’, International Law appears to allow for censorship. In this article, Wehbé makes the case for increasing international legal protections for freedom of expression with the objective of encouraging and fostering the growth of free governments. The article is divided into four sections, which outline the international legal protections for freedom of expression, the application of these protections in the context of emergent or re-emergent governments, and proposals by way of which multilateral treaty and State practice(s) can achieve the end of protecting freedom of expression.

Wehbé, Alan. “Increasing International Legal Protections for Freedom of Expression.” Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law 8, no. 2 (2018): 45-61.

Author: Mark Pearson
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This interview, conducted by Mark Pearson with Dirk Voorhoof, provides insights into the manner in which freedom of expression operates internationally as well as regionally. Pearson and Voorhoof discuss the different levels of and multiple approaches to free expression and their breaches by training on them a comparative lens. Voorhoof’s responses focus on the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, in particular, to highlight the limitative nature of the cases in which the freedom of expression can be restricted, arguing that such jurisprudence urges States to upgrade their freedom of expression, particularly for the media and journalists. They also delve into the explicit recognition of the right to information and its pivotal nature as a tool in democracies, which enables actors such as the media and CSOs to fulfil their duties as public watchdogs.

Pearson, Mark. "Media Law: Free Expression." 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpQDCy_d5rE.

Author: Centre for Human Rights, at University of Pretoria, Frank La Rue
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In this segment of the MOOC 'International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Safety of Journalists' developed by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria with the support of UNESCO, Mr. Frank la Rue, presents a  general Introduction to the International and Regional Framework on Freedom of Expression.

This segment is part of Module 1 of the MOOC: General Introduction to the International and Regional Framework on Freedom of Expression

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 focuses on the emergence of the International Human Rights System immediately after the end of World War Two. Callamard shows that freedom of expression and information was central to this construction and to the vision for humanity behind the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and indeed behind the establishment of the United Nations.

Author: Centre for Human Rights at University of Pretoria, Frans Viljoen
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In the first segment of the MOOC 'International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Safety of Journalists' developed by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria with the support of UNESCO, professor Frans Viljoen gives a general introduction to Human Rights. Viljoen explains the different State obligations, the international sources from which these obligations are derived, and the monitoring mechanisms available in the universal system and in the Africa system in particular. Finally, Viljoen explains the link between freedom of expression and democracy.

This segment is part of Module 1 of the MOOC: General Introduction to the International and Regional Framework on Freedom of Expression

Author: Sejal Parmar
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"This article examines the ‘Joint Declarations on freedom of expression’ from a critical perspective. Since 1999, these Joint Declarations have been adopted annually by the four intergovernmental mechanisms on freedom of expression with the assistance of two non-governmental organisations. This article identifies the factors which contribute to the Joint Declarations’ value, with a specific focus on the collaborative process leading up to their adoption, their progressive content and their demonstrated influence upon courts and other actors. It also acknowledges the limitations of the texts, including their non-binding nature as soft law, their limited impact and lack of visibility. Notwithstanding these issues, this article contends that the Joint Declarations constitute a distinct and potentially influential body of international soft law on freedom of expression, one whose relevance to policy debates deserves broader recognition."

Parmar, Sejal. “The Significance of the Joint Declarations on Freedom of Expression.” Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 37, no. 2 (June 2019): 178–95. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0924051919844388