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Each theme contains useful resources for lawyers on freedom of expression, click below to get started.

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Freedom of expression

An overview of the multi-faceted right to freedom of expression and how it is protected under international law.

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Digital rights

Understanding digital rights is crucial to protecting human rights, as little of our lives today is immune from the forces of technology and the internet.

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Restricting Internet access & online content

An overview of the ways in which access to the internet and online content are restricted around the world.

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Defamation & reputation

An overview of freedom of expression issues in the law, including how defamation is treated in domestic and international law.

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Privacy, security & data protection

An overview of the right to privacy, data protection, and protecting freedom of expression in a digital world.

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Cybercrimes

Describes the different types of cybercrimes, tracks the trends, and evaluates how cybercrimes are dealt with in international law.

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Hate speech

An overview of hate speech and how it is dealt with both under domestic and international law.

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Censorship by private actors

An overview of the ways in which access to content and freedom of expression online are restricted by private actors.

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False news, misinformation & propaganda

An overview of false news, misinformation and propaganda, including causes and potential solutions..

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Litigating freedom of expression

An overview of the various rights and concepts which encompass digital rights.

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Summary Module 8: ‘False news,’ Misinformation and Propaganda

While acknowledging the social ills occasioned by false news and misinformation, courts and international actors maintain that general and over-broad provisions which criminalise false news and misinformation violate the right to freedom of expression.

pan_tool Censorship by private actors · dvr False news, misinformation & propaganda · Africa · Jan 2021

Bhasin v Union of India; Azad v Union of India (2020)

The Supreme Court of India found that freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or occupation over the medium of the internet enjoys constitutional protection and that suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Asia · India · Apr 2020

NM and Others v Smith and Others (2007)

The Constitutional Court of South Africa deliberated on the high level of protection given to the individual’s “intimate personal sphere of life” but clarified when the personal becomes public and hence limits are placed on the right to privacy.

fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · Africa · South Africa · Apr 2007

Free Speech Organisations Submit Amicus Brief in Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case on Criminal Defamation

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · South America · Venezuela · Apr 2021

Explaining the Issues: False News

In our Explaining the Issues series, we explain legal issues faced by the media – this instalment covers false news.

dvr False news, misinformation & propaganda · Jul 2014

Media Defence Manual on Litigating Freedom of Expression Cases in East Africa

This manual is designed to assist lawyers representing journalists and bloggers at the regional level in East Africa. It therefore concentrates on setting out the processes and procedures for filing and arguing human rights cases before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the East African Court of Justice.

gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Burundi · Kenya · Rwanda · Tanzania · Uganda · Apr 2019

Burundi Journalists Union v The Attorney-General of the Republic of Burundi (2015)

The East African Court of Justice found that a Burundian law that restricted disseminating information that may be seen to be critical of the state, and forced journalists to reveal their sources was a violation of the EAC Treaty.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · phonelink_lock Digital rights · dvr False news, misinformation & propaganda · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Burundi · Apr 2015

Misa-Zimbabwe et al v Minister of Justice et al (2015)

The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe declared the offence of criminal defamation unconstitutional and inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression as protected under the Zimbabwean Constitution.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · Africa · Zimbabwe · Apr 2015

Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom (2018)

The European Court of Human Rights found some aspects of the UK’s mass surveillance regime to be in violation of the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression.

fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · Europe · United Kingdom · Apr 2018

The European Court Considers Media Defence’s Joint Intervention in Important Decision on Intermediary Liability

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · Europe · United Kingdom · Oct 2017