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

Other Systems

Author: Itxaso Domínguez de Olazábal
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7amleh, the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, published a study on Palestinian digital rights and the global impact of EU legislation - the Digital Services Act (DSA) in particular. The study tackles the following questions: How does the DSA’s approach to hate speech and other harmful content affect the digital rights of Palestinians and advocates for Palestinian rights? What are the potential consequences of the DSA’s politicization by the EU in the Israel/Palestine context? What are the advantages and risks of the DSA for Palestinian digital rights? The study explains the DSA, interrogates its relevance for Palestinian digital rights, includes a case study of events that “​​worryingly point to the DSA having been applied with bias” in the timeframe starting from October 7, and concludes with recommendations addressing the EU institutions, civil society, and online platforms.

Itxaso Domínguez de Olazábal. Position Paper on Palestinian Digital Rights and the Extraterritorial Impact of the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA). 7amleh, April 2024.


Author: ARTICLE 19
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This 2021 Policy Paper published by ARTICLE 19 provides a detailed overview of the potential harms of Biometric technologies, including violations of the fundamental rights of privacy and freedom of expression as well as “data protection, human dignity, non-discrimination, self-determination and the right to access an effective remedy.” Further, abuse of these technologies by law enforcement and other state bodies can result in discrimination from profiling of marginalized and at-risk communities. The Policy Brief provides case studies on the use of facial recognition and emotion recognition technologies, and offers a broad range of recommendations. Based on the gathered evidence, ARTICLE 19 calls for “a moratorium on the development and deployment of all biometric technologies until vital human rights safeguards are in place.” 


ARTICLE 19. When bodies become data: Biometric technologies and freedom of expression. April 2021.

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.

Author: Joshua Azriel
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This article, by looking back through almost the last 100 years of American history, shows that the current laws on sedition and free speech in the post-9/11 era parallel those adopted from two other time periods in American history, i.e. World War One and the Cold War. It also argues that changes in current sedition laws are not needed to fight the war on terrorism five years after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Joshua Azriel, "Five Years after the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks: Are New Sedition Laws Needed to Capture Suspected Terrorists in the United States," Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal 6, no. 1 (2006-2007): 1-22

Author: The Transatlantic Working Group
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“The Transatlantic High Level Working Group on Content Moderation Online and Freedom of Expression was formed to identify and encourage adoption of scalable solutions to reduce hate speech, violent extremism, and viral deception online, while protecting freedom of expression and a vibrant global internet. This report recommends a flexible regulatory framework that seeks to contribute to trust, transparency, and accountability. It is based upon: (1) transparency rules for platform activities, operations, and products; (2) an accountability regime holding platforms to their promises and transparency obligations; (3) a three-tier disclosure structure to enable the regulator, vetted researchers, and the public to judge performance; (4) independent redress mechanisms such as social media councils and e-courts to mitigate the impact of moderation on freedom of expression; and (5) an ABC framework for dealing with disinformation that addresses actors and behavior before content.”

The Transatlantic Working Group. “Freedom and Accountability: A Transatlantic Framework for Moderating Speech Online”. 2020.   

Author: MOOC Chile (Prof. Tomás Vial)
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This introductory lesson on Freedom of Expression, delivered by Prof. Tomás Vial, is Lecture 9 of the free online course on International Human Rights Law offered by MOOC Chile. In this lesson, Prof. Vial explores answers to primarily two questions: 1) what is the freedom of expression? and 2) why is it an important right? Identifying the freedom of expression as an essential right in a democratic society, Prof. Vial elaborates on the following in this lesson: 1) sources of freedom of speech in International Human Rights Law, 2) the types of discourses which are protected and those which are not, 3) the main justifications for the protection of free expression, and, 4) the main restrictions to which the freedom of expression may be subjected.

MOOC Chile (Prof. Tomás Vial). “Introduction to Human Rights: Freedom of Expression.” 2014.

Author: Melville B. Nimmer
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Nimmer argues that the existence of both a speech and a press clause suggests that a speech-press duality was intended under the First Amendment. He discusses precedent at the US Supreme Court which make apparent and engage with the distinction.

Nimmer, Melville B. Introduction--Is Freedom of the Press a Redundancy: What Does it Add to Freedom of Speech, 26 Hastings L.J. 639 (1975). Available at:  

Author: Jack Snyder, Karen Ballentine
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Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine, “Nationalism and the Marketplace of Ideas,” International Security Vol. 21, No.2, 1996, pp.5-40, 

Author: Joel Feinberg
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This book mounts a criticism of the Millian defense of freedom of expression and the underlying harm principle and provides for an alternate paradigm in the “offense principle”. Discussions are based around US First Amendment precedent.

Joel Feinberg. "The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law: Volume 2: Offense to Others." 1988. doi:10.1093/0195052153.001.0001.

Author: United Nations, David Kaye
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“In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, focuses on the freedom of opinion and expression aspects of academic freedom, highlighting the special role played by academics and academic institutions in democratic society and noting that, without academic freedom, societies lose one of the essential elements of democratic self-governance: the capacity for self-reflection, for knowledge generation and for a constant search for improvements of people’s lives and social conditions. The Special Rapporteur finds that threats to and restrictions on academic freedom limit the sharing of information and knowledge, an integral component of the right to freedom of expression. He reveals that academics and their institutions face social harassment and State repression for their research, the questions that they pursue, the points that they raise and the methodologies that they bring to bear on public policy – or simply for the stature that their academic work has given them in society. While he focuses on the ways in which the freedom of opinion and expression protects and promotes academic freedom, the Special Rapporteur also recognizes that there is no single, exclusive international human rights framework for the subject. He emphasizes one set of protections for academic freedom, while recognizing and reaffirming others. He concludes with a set of recommendations to States, academic institutions, international organizations and civil society.”

UN, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye. Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. A/75/261. July 2020.