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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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gavel Litigating freedom of expression

Strategic litigation is a key tool being used to uphold freedom of expression and to advance digital rights.

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SERAP v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2022)

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice ruled that Nigeria’s banning of Twitter was unlawful and that access to Twitter is a “derivative right” that is “complementary to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression.”

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Nigeria · Nov 2022

Delfi AS v Estonia (2013)

The European Court of Human Rights found that an online news portal was liable for offensive comments they allowed to be posted below one of their news articles.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Estonia · Europe · Apr 2013

Jankovskis v Lithuania (2017)

In relation to a prisoner who had been refused access to a website containing education-related information, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the applicant’s claim of a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · Lithuania · Apr 2017

OOO Memo v Russia (2022)

The European Court of Human Rights referred for the first time to the notion of SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) in a civil defamation suit brought by a Russian regional state body against a media company.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · Russian Federation · Nov 2022

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

Law Society of Zimbabwe and Others v Zimbabwe (2016)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights indicated that the court will adopt a flexible approach that allows anyone to file a communication for the court’s consideration, including non-victim individuals, CSOs and pressure groups.

gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Zimbabwe · Apr 2016

Koko v Tanton (2021)

The Johannesburg High Court in South Africa held that a defamation case brought by a former executive of a state entity constituted a SLAPP suit.

local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · South Africa · Nov 2022

Shreya Singhal v Union of India (2012)

The Supreme Court of India found that intermediaries are only liable when they have received actual knowledge from a court order, or have been notified by the government, and subsequently failed to remove or disable access to the information.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_police Cybercrimes · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Asia · India · Apr 2012

Sir Dawda K. Jawara v The Gambia (2000)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights confirmed that in circumstances where it is effective and sufficient to redress the complaint, a domestic remedy may be available to a petitioner.

gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Gambia · Apr 2000

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights v. Zimbabwe (2009)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held that Zimbabwe violated various rights by using force instead of seeking a Court order to stop a media outlet from operating illegally under a media registration law.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Zimbabwe · Nov 2022