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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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portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content

The internet was created to facilitate the free flow of information, and as such offers an array of opportunities for the realisation of human rights. However, impediments to the internet’s use for the advancement of human rights seem to be growing.

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New York Times Co. v United States (1971)

The United States Supreme Court rejected a request for prior restraint on the basis that it may only be allowed in extreme circumstances, and that ‘security’ could not be provided by guarding state secrets at the expense of informed representative government.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · North America · US · Apr 1971

Economic Freedom Fighters v Minister of Justice (2020)

The Constitutional Court of South Africa held that a provision criminalising incitement to “any offence” was overly broad and an infringement of the right to freedom of expression.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · Africa · South Africa · Nov 2022

Summary Module 2: Introduction to Digital Rights (sub-Saharan Africa)

Digital rights — which include the right to freedom of expression, privacy and access to information — are the same fundamental human rights as those enjoyed offline but adapted to a new age of technology

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · phonelink_lock Digital rights · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · local_fire_department Defamation & reputation · fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · local_police Cybercrimes · thumb_down_alt Hate speech · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · dvr False news, misinformation & propaganda · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Jan 2021

Explaining the Issues: The Right to be Forgotten

In our Explaining the Issues series, we explain legal issues faced by the media – this instalment covers the right to be forgotten.

phonelink_lock Digital rights · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · fingerprint Privacy, security & data protection · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Europe · Dec 2020

WASHLITE v Fox News (2020)

The Washington Superior Court found that Fox News’ repeated claims that COVID-19 was/is a hoax were protected under the freedom of expression protections of the First Amendment.

record_voice_over Freedom of expression · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · North America · US · Apr 2020

Emerging Trend: Internet Shutdowns

An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable, for a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information. A shutdown arises when someone, be it the government or a private sector actor, intentionally disrupts the internet, a telecommunications network or an internet service, arguably to control or curb what people say or do.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · pan_tool Censorship by private actors · Africa · Asia · Europe · North America · Oceania · South America · Apr 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

OOO Flavus v Russia (2020)

The European Court of Human Rights held that the indiscriminate blocking of entire online news websites without giving notice of the specific offending material was a breach of the right to freedom of expression.

portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Asia · Russian Federation · Nov 2022

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

Landmark Judgment: ECOWAS Court Finds Togo Violated FoE with Internet Shutdown

phonelink_lock Digital rights · portable_wifi_off Restricting Internet access & online content · gavel Litigating freedom of expression · Africa · Togo · Jun 2020