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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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local_fire_department Defamation & reputation

While defamation laws aim to provide individuals with a remedy for public statements that may harm their reputation or honour, they frequently come into conflict with the right to freedom of expression.

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Steel and Morris v United Kingdom (2005)

The European Court of Human Rights held that although the sum awarded in a defamation case was not objectively large, “it was very substantial when compared to the modest incomes and resources of the . . . applicant . . .”.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · United Kingdom · Apr 2005

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

Mineral Sands Resources and Another v Christine Reddell and Others (2021)

The High Court of South Africa found that a mining company had been abusing judicial processes to intimidate, distract and silence public criticism, and dismissed a defamation case as a SLAPP suit.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Africa · South Africa · Apr 2021

Konaté v Burkina Faso (2014)

The African Court overruled the conviction and harsh penalties levied on a journalist for defamation relating to news articles alleging corruption of a state prosecutor, and found that the conviction was a disproportionate interference with the journalist’s right to freedom of expression.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Burkina · Apr 2014

Başkaya and Okçuoğlu v Turkey (1999)

The European Court of Human Rights found that the convictions and sentencing of an author and publisher on charges of disseminating propaganda against the indivisibility of the state were disproportionate to the aims pursued, and there not necessary in a democratic society.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Asia · Turkey · Apr 1999

Good v Republic of Botswana (2010)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights found that a professor’s right to freedom of expression had been violated when the state deported Mr Good on national security grounds for the publication of an article critical of Botswana’s presidential succession.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · Africa · Botswana · Apr 2010

Herrera-Ulloa v Costa Rica (2004)

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held that Costa Rica’s criminal defamation law violated the American Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Costa Rica · North America · Apr 2004

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

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

Peta v Minister of Law, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights (2018)

The Constitutional Court of Lesotho struck down the provisions of the Penal Code relating to criminal defamation stating that they violated the right to freedom of expression as protected in the Lesotho Constitution.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · Africa · Lesotho · Apr 2018