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 11 - 10

Media Regulation

Author: UN Human Rights Committee
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The UN Human Rights Committee adopted (102nd Session) General Comment 34 on States parties' obligations under Article 19 of the ICCPR: Freedoms of opinion and expression (CCPR/C/GC/34). The General Comment provides guidance to States on what the freedoms of opinion and expression mean in practice. Among others, the General Comment refers to: Freedom of expression and the media; Right of access to information; Freedom of expression and political rights; The application of article 19 (3); Limitative scope of restrictions on freedom of expression in certain specific areas; The relationship between articles 19 and 20.

UN, Human Rights Committee. General Comment No. 34. CCPR/C/GC/34. 12 September 2011

Author: Julia Haas, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
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“This paper addresses how the use of artificial intelligence (AI) affects freedom of expression and media freedom. While AI can improve communication and information access in numerous ways, including through legacy media, this paper focuses on the main concerns when AI is not deployed in a human rights-friendly manner…This paper also addresses how biases both in datasets and of human developers may risk perpetuating existing inequality, how AI affects legacy media and how the COVID-19 pandemic aggravates the above-mentioned concerns. Providing policy recommendations, this paper concludes that states and the private sector need to guarantee that the design and deployment of AI are grounded in human rights, with transparency and accountability being ensured at all stages.”

Julia Haas. “Global Conference for Media Freedom: Freedom of the Media and Artificial Intelligence”. 2020.

Author: OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression
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First Joint Declaration of OAS and ACHPR Special Rapportuers on Freedom of Expression

OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression. First Joint Declaration of OAS and ACHPR Special Rapportuers on Freedom of ExpressionFebruary 28, 2005.

Author: UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression
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"This Joint Declaration addresses systematic or targeted attacks on freedom of expression which are aimed at silencing certain perspectives or voices, whether internationally, nationally or locally, and State responses to such attacks. Such attacks are perpetrated in different contexts, including of international and non-international armed conflicts, terrorist attacks and widespread organized crime."

UN, OSCE, OAS and ACHPR Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression. Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Responses to Conflict Situations, May 4, 2015.

Author: UN, OSCE and OAS Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression
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Joint Declaration on the Regulation of the Media, Restrictions on Journalists, and on Investigating Corruption.

UN, OSCE and OAS Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression. Joint Declaration on the Regulation of the Media, Restrictions on Journalists, and on Investigating Corruption, December 18, 2003.

Author: UNESCO, Rachel Pollack
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This issue brief on ‘Journalism, Press Freedom and COVID-19’ is part of the UNESCO series ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development’. It highlights the key global trends in the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the freedom of the press and journalism. These trends include: “1) fueling the pandemic, a dangerous “disinfodemic” has arisen, 2) against soaring demand for verified information, independent media have risen to the challenge, 3) technology companies are taking action, but more transparency is needed, 4) some regulatory measures have led to new restrictions of human rights, 5) to keep the public informed, journalists are putting their own safety at risk, 6) the economic impact of COVID-19 may pose an existential threat to journalism, 7) amid the crisis, there are new opportunities to stand up for journalism.” The objective of the issue brief is for it to serve as referential guidance for UNESCO member States, civil society organizations, media outfits, and internet companies.

UNESCO, Rachel Pollack. “Journalism, Press Freedom and COVID-19”. 2020.

Author: Open Society Foundations, Marius Dragomir and Mark Thompson (eds)
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“The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by new and digital media. Covering 56 countries, the project assesses how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide – news about political, economic, and social affairs – and how they can help advance open society values. The Mapping Digital Media research confirms that digital television and the internet have had a radical impact on media businesses, journalists, and citizens at large. As might be expected, platforms distributing journalism have proliferated, media companies are revamping their operations, and citizens have access to a cornucopia of news and information sources. Other findings were less foreseeable: digitization has brought no pressure to reform state broadcasters, less than one-third of countries found that digital media have helped to expand the social impact of investigative journalism, and digitization has not significantly affected total news diversity. The Global Findings reveal other common themes across the world: 1) Governments and politicians have too much influence over who owns, operates, and regulates the media, 2.) Many media markets are rife with monopolistic, corrupt, or untransparent practices, 3) It’s not clear where many governments and other bodies get their evidence for changes or updates to laws and policies on media and communication, 4) Media and journalism online offer hope of new, independent sources of information, but are also a new battleground for censorship and surveillance, 5) Data about the media worldwide are still uneven, unstandardized, and unreliable, and are often proprietary rather than freely accessible. The 16 chapters in this report provide a unique survey of thematic and geographical trends, and provide new insight into how the information and communications revolution is shaping the new landscape of media and journalism.” 

Open Society Foundations, Marius Dragomir and Mark Thompson (eds). “Mapping Digital Media: Global Findings”. 2014.  

Author: Doreen Weisenhaus, Simon Young
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"The Internet brings opportunity and peril for media freedom and freedom of expression. It enables new forms of publication and extends the reach of traditional publishers, but its power increases the potential damage of harmful speech and invites state regulation and censorship as well as manipulation by private and commercial interests. In jurisdictions around the world, courts, lawmakers and regulators grapple with these contradictions and challenges in different ways with different goals in mind. The media law reforms they are adopting or considering contain crucial lessons for those forming their own responses or who seek to understand how technology is driving such rapid change in how information and opinion are distributed or restricted.

In this book, many of the world's leading authorities examine the emerging landscape of reform in nations with variable political and legal contexts. They analyse developments particularly through the prisms of defamation and media regulation, but also explore the impact of technology on privacy law and national security. Whether as jurists, lawmakers, legal practitioners or scholars, they are at the front lines of a story of epic change in how and why the Internet is changing the nature and raising the stakes of 21st century communication and expression."

Weisenhaus, Doreen and Simon Young eds. Media Law and Policy in the Internet Age. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2017

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.

Author: Center for Law and Democracy
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These training materials prepared by The Centre for Law and Democracy focus on three commonly applied restrictions on freedom of expression under international human rights law. They are designed as a resource for professional networks of media lawyers and other organisations working to build the capacity of lawyers to defend media freedom. The Materials consist of: 1) a Background Reading document describing core standards for each type of restriction; 2) sample exercises that can be used during training programmes; 3) discussion questions, also for use during trainings; and 4) sample agendas for a one and one-half hour or one-half-day workshop based on the materials.

The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD). Model Training Materials: Hate Speech, Defamation and National Security. December 20, 2022. Accessed January 13, 2023.