This Module explores how the practice of journalism has been defined and protected by international and regional law and bodies, from the rejection of licensing to the protection of journalistic sources, and including self-regulation. Many of the readings also address the impact of the digital revolution on journalism and present the conflicts on such questions as to who is a journalist.

9 items found, showing 11 - 9


Author: Richard G. Fox
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This article constitutes a basic reading to understand the concept of whistleblowing and the need to afford protection to them in a modern democratic age. It also analyses the laws relating to whistleblower protection in various countries, including USA and Australia.

Fox, Richard. "Protecting the Whistleblower" [1993] AdelLawRw 6; (1993) 15 Adelaide Law Review 137.

Author: UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye
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“Drawing on international and national law and practice, the Special Rapporteur highlights [in his report (A/70/361)] the key elements of a framework for the protection of sources and whistle-blowers.”

UN, Human Rights Council. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. Report on the the protection of sources of information and whistle-blowers. A/70/361.8 September 2015.

Author: ARTICLE 19
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“The Global Expression Report is a global, data-informed, annual look at freedom of expression worldwide. With the benefit of data and hindsight, we take a look at 2020 – how this fundamental right fared, what the key trends were, and how global events affected its exercise. The Global Expression Report’s metric (the GxR Metric) tracks freedom of expression across the world. In 161 countries, 25 indicators were used to create an overall freedom of expression score for every country, on a scale of 1 to 100 which places it in an expression category. The GxR reflects not only the rights of journalists and civil society but also how much space there is for each of us – as individuals and members of organisations – to express and communicate; how free each and every person is to post online, to march, to research, and to access the information we need to participate in society and hold those with power to account. This report covers expression’s many faces: from street protest to social media posts; from the right to information to the right to express political dissent, organise, offend, or make jokes. It also looks at the right to express without fear of harassment, legal repercussions, or violence.”

ARTICLE 19. “The Global Expression Report 2021: The State of Freedom of Expression around the World”. 2021.

Author: Dirk Voorhoof
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"Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights has become a crucial instrument to stimulate and compel the national authorities of the 47 member states not only to abstain from interferences restricting media freedom and investigative journalism, but also to promote transparency, media pluralism and internet freedom. This paper explores some of the characteristics and developments of the European Court’s case law regarding media, journalism, internet freedom, newsgathering, whistleblowing and access to information. The perspective of the analysis is that effectively guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression and information helps developing the quality of democracy, the protection of other human rights and ultimately contributes to realise a more sustainable, and hence a better, world to live in"

Dirk Voorhoof, The Right to Freedom of Expression and Information under the European Human Rights System: Towards a more Transparent Democratic Society (EUI RSCAS; Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, 2014/12) 

Author: Big Brother Watch
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“This report examines the state of free speech online, mapping the impact of social media companies’ corporatisation of speech standards and the Government’s role in creating a two-tier speech system. It is the product of over two years of research on online censorship, during which major themes have emerged: “hate speech” including speech on sex, gender and race; political posts, including left-wing and right-wing posts; and posts relating to health, from mental health to Covid-19. It is fully expected that readers will find some of example banned posts in this report disagreeable, misguided or offensive. However, we ask you not to judge your agreement with these posts, but to probe the more important questions – first, should this lawful content be censored by a private company and second, should lawful speech be censored with the state’s backing? Readers should also note that the examples cited in this report are merely a fraction of the unjustified censorship that we have researched and that, no doubt, has not fallen within the confines of our research. Some readers will, rightly, feel that certain forms of unfair social media censorship are not represented in this report. Our examples are not intended to be a comprehensive or fully representative example – such a task would be impossible, given the scale and opacity of corporate censorship online. However, it is a snapshot of some of the major themes we uncovered in the course of our team’s research. The report goes on to consider the draft Online Safety Bill and why the proposals would materially damage the right to free expression online. Finally, we put forward recommendations for policymakers on how to keep our online space safe and free.”

Big Brother Watch. “The State of Free Speech Online”. 2021.

Author: Paul Latimer, A J Brown
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This article provides a detailed overview about the considerations that need to be kept in mind while drafting a whistleblower protection law. It explains the pre-requisites for whistleblower laws and analyses the laws across various jurisdictions. Further it explains the different consideration that need to be put in place for public and private sector employees and the channels of disclosure that need to be implemented. The article concludes that effective whistleblower protections must include access to the normal legal process including trial by jury, protection for the whistleblower and protection of lawful disclosure. There must be no retaliation and there must be effective resolution of the wrongdoing disclosed by the whistleblower. It thus concludes that an effective legislation is the backbone of any proposed whistleblower protection.

Paul Latimer and A. J. Brown. "Whistleblower Laws: International Best Practice." UNSW Law Journal 31, no. 3 (2008): 766-94.

Author: David Lewis
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"This article is based on the premise that whistleblowers can play a valuable role in modern society. The UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA 1998), which only applies to workers and requires that disclosures are made in “good faith”, makes no mention of the law of defamation. This article considers the impact of the law relating to libel and slander on actual and potential whistleblowers. It is observed that those who are not covered by PIDA 1998 are particularly exposed – if they cannot prove the truth of their allegations their motives may be examined in an action for defamation. The author concludes that it would be consistent with the principle of freedom of expression if statutory privileges were introduced and if Parliament removed the requirement of “good faith” for a disclosure to be protected under PIDA 1998."

David Lewis, Whistleblowers and the Law of Defamation: Time for Statutory Privilege?, [2005] 3 Web Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 

Author: Shailey Tucker
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This article is a comprehensive take on the entire issue pertaining to whistleblowers. It compares the text of laws pertaining to whistleblowing across several jurisdictions including USA, UK, Japan and South Africa. The article concludes that countries such as South Africa, Japan and the UK are more comprehensive in their scope, coverage, and types of protection for whistleblowers, with clearly outlined definitions.

Shailey Tucker. "Whistleblowers: Whose Protection?" Accountability Initiative. September 01, 2013.

Author: David Banisar
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This article discusses the various elements of a definition of whistleblowing and brings out the notion of whistleblowing as an element of free speech and the right of individuals to express dissent. It then goes on to discuss the utility of whistleblowing and the barriers to the same. In order to analyze the international position on whistleblower protection, the article discusses the various international conventions that relate to it, including the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. The article also analyzes the national laws on whistleblowing from USA, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

David Banisar. Whistleblowing: International Standards and Developments (February 1, 2011). Corruption and Transparency: Debating the Frontiers betwwen State, Market and Society, I. Sandoval, ed., World Bank-Institute for Social Research, UNAM, Washington, D.C., 2011. Available at SSRN: