Freedom of Expression Online

Freedom of Expression Online

The resources on this Module focus on some of the complex issues related to the digital exercise of freedom of expression. Internet, social media, search engines have largely transformed expression, information, communication. The selected readings highlight the mismatch between practices and the law trying to catch up with the advances of the technology, while seeking to make sense of the normative cacophony.

10 items found, showing 1 - 10

Overall Normative Framework

Author: UNESCO
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The report “provides a new perspective on the social and political dynamics behind the threats to expression. It develops a conceptual framework on the ‘ecology of freedom of expression’ for discussing the broad context of policy and practice that should be taken into consideration in discussions of this issue.”

Dutton, William H. Freedom of connection, freedom of expression: the changing legal and regulatory ecology shaping the Internet. Paris: UN, UNESCO, 2011.

Author: UN, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
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“This report examines the international standards and principles applicable to the protection of freedom of opinion and expression during elections in the digital age. In the 2014 report to the Human Rights Council, the previous mandate holder examined the State’s obligations to respect and ensure freedom of expression in electoral contexts. This report reviews the nature and scope of these obligations in light of advances in technology and their impact on elections. Advances in information and communications technology have been critical to facilitating access to information and the free flow of ideas during elections. However, State and non-State actors have also exploited these advances to interfere with democratic participation and access to information during election periods, and to undermine the integrity of electoral processes. This report focuses on four such interferences: network shutdowns, efforts to combat the perceived spread of “fake news” and online disinformation, Direct Denial of Service (“DDoS”) attacks and interference with voters’ records and data.”

UN, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Freedom of Expression and Elections in the Digital Age. Research Paper 1/2019. June 2019.

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. This Advanced  Course will focus on the multiple challenges brought about by the technology revolution of the last two decades. On one hand, it has given the world the means to realize its commitment to freedom of information without frontiers. Technology has shaped, reshaped, and radically transformed the production and distribution of information, profoundly impacting whole societies and greatly influencing, if not defining, information and communication. On the other hand, it has also precipitated or heightened a range of normative, regulatory and political issues related to the protection of freedom of expression, on and off line. This course will examine the complex, and often awkward, interplay of global information flows with national jurisdiction and state sovereignty, and what it means for the realization of a borderless vision for the right to freedom of expression.

Author: IACmHR, Catalina Botero Marino
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The report “includes a systematization of standards aimed at promoting respect for freedom of expression on the Internet. This report analyzes best practices in this field, along with applicable international doctrine and jurisprudence.” It includes an explanation of: the Guiding Principles (Universal Access, Pluralism, Non-discrimination, Privacy); Net neutrality; Access to the Internet; Legislative limitations and subsequent liability: Standards of legitimacy and deliberative factors for resolving online rights conflicts; Filters and blocking; Intermediaries; Cybersecurity, privacy, and freedom of expression (Cybersecurity, Privacy, Internet communications surveillance); and, Principles for the protection of freedom of expression through multisector participation in Internet governance.

OAS, IACmHR, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero. Freedom of Expression and Internet. OEA/Ser.L/V/II. CIDH/RELE/INF. 11/13. 31 December 2013

Author: IACmHR, Catalina Botero Marino
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Video summarizing the report "Freedom of Expression and Internet". The report “includes a systematization of standards aimed at promoting respect for freedom of expression on the Internet. This report analyzes best practices in this field, along with applicable international doctrine and jurisprudence.” It includes an explanation of: the Guiding Principles (Universal Access, Pluralism, Non-discrimination, Privacy); Net neutrality; Access to the Internet; Legislative limitations and subsequent liability: Standards of legitimacy and deliberative factors for resolving online rights conflicts; Filters and blocking; Intermediaries; Cybersecurity, privacy, and freedom of expression (Cybersecurity, Privacy, Internet communications surveillance); and, Principles for the protection of freedom of expression through multisector participation in Internet governance.

Author: ARTICLE 19
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ARTICLE 19 submitted a response to the UN Special Rapporteur on free expression’s call for comments on the role of the private sector in the digital age. In their submission, ARTICLE 19 addressed the following issues: 1) The categories of actors in the digital sector whose activities implicate the freedom of opinion and expression; 2) The main legal issues raised for freedom of opinion and expression within the digital sector; 3) The conceptual and normative work already in place to develop corporate responsibility and human rights frameworks in these spaces, including governmental, inter-governmental, civil society, corporate and multi-stakeholder efforts; and 3) they also provide country specific information (Brazil).

Article 19.Freedom of expression and the private sector in the digital age. London: Article 19, 2016. https://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/38294/FOE-and-the-private-sector-in-the-digital-age-A19-response-to-UNSR-call-Feb-2016.pdf

Author: Yaman Akdeniz
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"A study of legal provisions and practices related to freedom of expression, the free flow of information and media pluralism on the Internet in OSCE participating States"

Yaman Akdeniz, Freedom of Expression on the Internet, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, 2011

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 impact of Internet and the information technology on the realization and protection of freedom of expression. In this first segment, Callamard introduces some of the challenges that Internet has created for the protection of free speech. Callamard highlights four of them: 1) the tension between the borderless nature of Internet and national sovereignty; 2) the impact of media convergence on medium specific regulation; 3) the responsibility or reliability of all the actors involved with the production and circulation of information; and 4) the global governance of Internet.

Author: Oxford Kashmir Forum, Prof. David Kaye
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This lecture is the sixth to be delivered in a series of lectures which are part of the Oxford Kashmir Forum’s online course on ‘International Human Rights Law and Kashmir: Prospects and Challenges’. In this lecture, Prof. David Kaye discusses the ways in which the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under International Human Rights Law as well as the obligations it imposes on States. In particular, Prof. Kaye emphasizes on the role such laws play in our online lives as well as discusses the nature of the function of the actors who animate the space of internet governance. Recognizing issues of speech and expression as some of the most direct as well as salient issues of law and public policy globally, he provokes his listener to think more deeply about what those issues are as well as who should determine answers to those issues in a democratic world.   

Oxford Kashmir Forum (Prof. David Kaye). “Freedom of Speech and Expression.” 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5YB7y-WWvM.

Author: UNESCO
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The report “provides an overview of encryption technologies and their impact on human rights. It analyzes in-depth the role of encryption in the media and communications landscape, and the impact on different services, entities and end users. It highlights good practices and examines the legal environment surrounding encryption as well as various case studies of encryption policies. Built on this exploration and analysis, the research provides recommendations on encryption policy that are useful for various stakeholders.”

Schulz, Wolfgang and van Hoboken, Joris. Human rights and encryption. Paris: UN, UNESCO, 2012.