12 lawyers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda completed a four-day legal training on freedom of expression in East Africa, between 7 and 11 August 2016. The workshop was hosted by the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) in partnership with the Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-U) and the law firm WilmerHale.
Participants were trained on defamation law, freedom of expression online, media regulation, and freedom of information. They also developed their knowledge of international human rights mechanisms, such as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the East African Court of Justice, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights – with practical tips on how to litigate before these mechanisms.
As part of the litigation surgery, the lawyers workshopped cases that could be pursued before domestic and/or international fora. Cases workshopped explored the constitutionality of restrictions placed on the media which prevents them from reporting from certain public places; criminal defamation as a violation of the right to freedom of expression under international law; and the blocking or banning of newspapers, social media services, or websites.
MLDI provides legal support to journalists, bloggers and independent media worldwide to enable them to continue with their reporting. A significant portion of MLDI’s work is currently conducted in the East African region; consequently MLDI is continually seeking to strengthen its network of lawyers to work within the region to further the regional freedom of expression framework.
Training materials are available here: Resources
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