Freedom of the media

Freedom of the media

This Module focuses on the written press, radio and television broadcasting. The resources are organized according to the two principles that govern Media regulation -diversity and pluralism - and their meaning as applied to different mediums. The Module also includes readings that critically assess the role of the Media and of press freedom in contemporary societies and the digital challenges to the traditional Media business model.

10 items found, showing 1 - 10

Media Regulation

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.

Author: IACtHR
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“[T]he Government of Costa Rica […] submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights […] an advisory opinion request relating to the interpretation of Articles 13 [Freedom of thought and expression] and 29 [Restrictions Regarding Interpretation] of the American Convention on Human Rights […] as they affect the compulsory membership in an association prescribed by law for the practice of journalism […]. The request also sought the Court's interpretation relating to the compatibility of Law No. 4420 of September 22, 1969, Organic Law of the Colegio de Periodistas (Association of Journalists) of Costa Rica […], with the provisions of the aforementioned articles.”

IACtHR, Compulsory Membership in an Association Prescribed by Law for the Practice of Journalism. Advisory Opinion OC-5/85. Series A, No. 5. 13 November 1985

Author: UN Human Rights Council, David Kaye
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“The present report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, is being submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to Council resolution 34/18. In the report the Special Rapporteur registers alarm that some efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic may be failing to meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality. The Special Rapporteur highlights five areas of concern, showing that access to information, independent media and other free expression rights are critical to meeting the challenges of pandemic.”

UN Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye. Disease Pandemics and the Freedom of Opinion and Expression. A/HRC/44/49. April 2020.

Author: European Commission
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"The proposed Regulation includes safeguards against political interference in editorial decisions and against surveillance. It puts a focus on the independence and stable funding of public service media as well as on the transparency of media ownership and the allocation of state advertising. "

"The key objectives of the legislative initiative would be to: ensure that media companies can operate in the internal market subject to consistent regulatory standards, including as regards media freedom and pluralism, ▪ ensure that EU citizens have access to a wide and varied media offering both offline and online, ▪ safeguard the editorial independence and independent management of the media, which is a precondition of media freedom and of the integrity of the internal market, ▪ foster undistorted competition between media companies by ensuring a transparent and fair allocation of state resources".


Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a common framework for media services in the internal market (European Media Freedom Act) and amending Directive 2010/13/EU. 16 September 2022.

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: Nordicom, Ulla Carlsson (ed)
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“In 2016, UNESCO and the Government of Finland [co-hosted] the World Press Freedom Day’s main event in Helsinki, 3-4 May – for the first time in the Nordic Region. 2016 also marks the 250th anniversary of a Swedish fundamental law – The Freedom of the Press Act. This law prohibited censorship and guaranteed public access to official records, and was the first in the world to do so. Both these celebrations can be seen as appropriate background scenarios to this new book. In 2009, Nordicom published Freedom of Speech Abridged? Cultural, legal and philosophical challenges, an anthology focusing on the traditional concept of individual freedom of expression. A few years later, Nordicom published Freedom of Expression Revisited. Citizenship and journalism in the digital era. The current publication, published by the UNESCO Chair at the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Nordicom, may be seen as a follow-up to these earlier titles. It is based on research in the Nordic countries, but many of the studies are global in nature and the results of collaborations between researchers from many parts of the world. Several of the articles also contain valuable reflections and second thoughts. It is hoped that these articles by Nordic researchers will contribute to knowledge development in the field as well as to global and regional discussions about freedom of expression, press freedom and the role of journalists, and communication rights in contemporary societies – in an era of globalization and digitization.” 

Nordicom, Ulla Carlsson (ed). “Freedom of Expression and Media in Transition: Studies and Reflections in the Digital Age”. 2016.

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: Centre for Law and Democracy and International Media Support
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“This series of Briefing Notes is designed to give readers an understanding of the key international legal standards that apply in the context of freedom of expression. They are aimed at an audience which does not necessarily have a deep understanding of freedom of expression issues, but they also aim to be of interest and relevance to more sophisticated freedom of expression observers and practitioners. Thus, while the Briefing Notes are designed to be broadly accessible, they also provide readers with fairly in-depth knowledge about freedom of expression issues. Each individual Briefing Note addresses a different thematic freedom of expression issue. The first, perhaps predictably, is titled Freedom of Expression as a Human Right, while the second looks at the permissible scope of restrictions on freedom of expression under international law. Several of the Briefing Notes focus on different areas of media regulation, including print, broadcast and public service media, journalists, media diversity and independent regulation. This reflects the central role media regulation plays both in terms of guaranteeing freedom of expression and in the legal frameworks found in democracies relating to freedom of expression. There are also Briefing Notes on both criminal and civil restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as on the right to information (or freedom of information) and digital rights. In addition to providing substantive guidance in the relevant thematic area, the Briefing Notes contain a number of pithy quotes from leading sources. The idea is to provide readers with quick access to ‘quotable quotes’ for possible reuse in their work. Each Note also contains a section at the end on further resources, for readers who want to probe the subject more deeply.”

Centre for Law and Democracy and International Media Support. “Freedom of Expression Briefing Note Series”. 2014.….

Author: IACmHR, Catalina Botero Marino
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“This publication shows the guidelines that have been developed by the Inter-American Court and the Inter-American Commission and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, regarding the need for an adequate regulation of the radioelectric spectrum to ensure free, independent, vigorous, plural, and diverse broadcasting, to insure, as a result, the greatest circulation of information and opinions.”

OAS, IACmHR, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero. Freedom of Expression Standards for Free and Inclusive Broadcasting. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. CIDH/RELE/INF. 3/09. 30 December 2009

Author: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth
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In this debate on ‘Freedom of the Press’, organized by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth and moderated by Richard Tofel, RonNell Andersen Jones (Professor of Law, University of Utah Quinney College of Law) and Andy Phillips (Partner and Litigator, Clare Locke law firm (DC)) discuss whether limitations should be imposed on the American press given the reportage of blatantly inaccurate fake news and incitement of violence by certain media outfits. The debate endeavours to explore different perspectives on and paths towards the proper resolution of the question about limitations on the press due to its pertinence to the role of the press in a democratic society as well as to the functioning of a democracy itself.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth. “Freedom of the Press.” 2019.