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    Module 8: ‘False news’, misinformation and propaganda

    “National security” is a common justification offered by states for limiting freedom of expression by journalists, bloggers, and media organs.(1)  It is a legitimate ground for restricting freedom of expression in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).(2)

    Exceptionally, the right to freedom of expression can be partly suspended — a process known as derogation — in the case of a state of emergency due to a grave, imminent security threat.  However, national security is often relied upon for illegitimate reasons, such as to quell dissent or to cover up state abuses.

    This module examines how national security is treated under international and regional human rights law as a ground for limiting freedom of expression.


    1. This module should be read in conjunction with Richard Carver ‘Training Manual on International and Comparative Media and Freedom of Expression Law at pp 76-86 (accessible here: Back
    2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) at articles 19, 21 and 22 (accessible at: Back