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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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pan_tool Censorship by private actors

The internet has given extraordinary decision-making power to private actors, who often face little scrutiny or oversight over their behaviour and how it may affect access to information and freedom of expression.

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Summary Module 3: Access to the Internet (sub-Saharan Africa)

An express right to the internet has not been recognised in international law. However, it is widely accepted that access to the internet enables a variety of other fundamental rights.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · phonelink_lock Digital rights · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Africa · Jan 2021

Milestone Judgment for Internet Freedom in India

pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Asia · India · Nov 2015

Attorney General of Malaysia v Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd (2021)

The Federal Court of Malaysia held that an online news website which had published comments by its subscribers which criticised the judiciary was guilty of contempt of court, despite the website removing the comments within twelve minutes of being informed by the police.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_police Cybercrimes · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Asia · Malaysia · Nov 2022

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

Társaság a Szabadságjogokért v Hungary (2009)

The European Court of Human Rights held that the right to freedom of expression included the right to access information under the control of public authorities.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · Hungary · Apr 2009

Summary Module 8: ‘False news,’ Misinformation and Propaganda (sub-Saharan Africa)

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

Magyar Tartalomszolgáltatók Egyesülete and Index.hu Zrt v Hungary (2016)

The European Court of Human Rights found that internet portals assume duties and responsibilities particularly in the context of offensive and vulgar comments — even if the speech is not unlawful.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · Hungary · Apr 2016

Curi et al v Globo Comunicação e Participações S/A (2021)

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court held that a general right to be forgotten is incompatible with the Federal Constitution.

fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Brazil · South America · Nov 2022

World Press Freedom Day Series: Citizen Journalist Elena Popa

pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Austria · Europe · Germany · May 2020

United States v Alvarez (2012)

In the majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “[t]he remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true.  This is the ordinary course in a free society.”

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · dvr False news, misinformation & propaganda · US · Apr 2012