Freedom of expression

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Catalyzing Rights and Freedom of expression

Relevant sources: ICCPR Arts. 17, 19; ICPPED Art. 25(5); CRC Arts. 12(1), 13, 16-17; CRPD Arts. 7(3), 9, 21-22, 31; ICERD Art. 5(d)(viii); ICRMW Arts. 13-14; UDHR Arts. 12, 19

Core elements of the guarantee during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Provide access to information “in a way that promotes non-discrimination” (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Ensure that “the basic conditions of legality and necessity” are met when restricting freedom of expression even for the purpose of public health (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Allow for public access to information by “provid[ing] media access to officials, documentation and other information resources” (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Provide access to “an open and secure Internet” which is a prerequisite “for the enjoyment of the freedom of expression” (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Protect and promote independent media (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Apply “[t]he principles of legality and necessity . . . to any approach to disinformation” (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Ensure “that surveillance is conducted consistently with international human rights law” (UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)
  • Ensure that restrictions placed on elections “comply with the international law three-part test requirements of legality, legitimacy of aim and necessity” (UN, OSCE, OAS)

Further guidance can be found here: International experts; ACHPR Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information in Africa; COE; OAS

Show me of advances during COVID-19

Showing 11 matching measures.

Freedom of expression

Measure Country
Supreme Court of India, Writ Petition No. 154 of 2020, Vinod Dua versus Union of India & Ors. India

The Supreme Court quashed the FIR (first information report) that had been brought against journalist Vinot Dua in June 2020 while rejecting “the prayer that no FIR be registered against…

IPIB Information on Open Meetings/Public Records & COVID-19 United States

According to this directive, the Governor will “continue to temporarily suspend” provisions of the Iowa Code “imposing a requirement to hold a public meeting or hearing, to the extent that…

IPIB Information on Open Meetings/Public Records & COVID-19 United States

According to this directive, the Governor will “continue to temporarily suspend” provisions of the Iowa Code “imposing a requirement to hold a public meeting or hearing, to the extent that…

Supreme Court of India, Writ Petition No. 154 of 2020, Vinod Dua versus Union of India & Ors. India

The Supreme Court quashed the FIR (first information report) that had been brought against journalist Vinot Dua in June 2020 while rejecting “the prayer that no FIR be registered against…

Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Johnson v. Iowa Dep’t of Pub. Safety, No. 4:20-cv-00306-RGE-CFB (S.D. Iowa Dec. 10, 2020) United States

After plaintiffs were banned “from the Iowa State Capitol and Capitol Complex grounds for periods ranging from six months to one year” following a protest, they sought “an order preliminarily…

Joint Statement on International Access to Information Day 2020 Australia, New Zealand

“Information Access Commissioners and Ombudsmen from across Australia and New Zealand . . . released a joint statement to mark International Access to Information Day” in September 2020. The statement…

Legislators Agree to Create Special Commission that Investigates, among Other Things, Harassment of Salvadoran Journalists (Legisladores Acuerdan Crear Comisión Especial que Investigue, entre Otras Cosas, Acoso a Periodistas Salvadoreños) El Salvador

The legislature voted to create a “Special Commission for the investigation of harassment suffered by media journalists due to their work and editorial line and the use of public funds…

Efforts to Support Singapore’s Media Sector Singapore

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), a “statutory board in the Singapore government” “is strengthening its efforts to support the media sector in Singapore during the current COVID-19 situation.” Initiatives…

U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), “Lies in the Time of COVID19” United States

“The United States Agency for Global Media and its networks have remained committed to providing accurate and unbiased information about the coronavirus, clarifying any misinformation, and exposing disinformation related to…

Coronavirus: Polygraph and Directorate-General of Health Establish Partnership against “Fake News” (Coronavírus: Polígrafo e Direção-Geral da Saúde Estabelecem Parceria contra as “Fake News”) Portugal

Coronavirus related material published by the fact-checking platform Polígrafo “will be previously subject to scientific validation by an expert appointed by the Directorate-General for Health.” This effort is being undertaken…

Ministerial Agreement No. 009-2020 (Acuerdo Ministerial No. 009-2020) Ecuador

The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society, noting the country’s constitutional obligation to guarantee that public services respond to principles of, among others, universality, accessibility, and quality, issued guidelines regarding…

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