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Human rights experts urge robust action to tackle challenges to freedom of expression

GENEVA (11 July 2019) –  On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Joint Declarations on Freedom of Expression, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, together with other regional experts, has called for a robust response to the main challenges to freedom of expression for the next decade.

In a joint declaration issued on 10 July 2019, the experts highlighted ongoing violence against and prosecution of journalists, threats to media diversity and independence, legal restrictions on online expression, as well as unlawful surveillance and the power of online intermediaries as serious challenges to freedom of expression.

They called for the creation of an enabling environment to protect the safety of journalists and others who are attacked for exercising their right to freedom of expression online and offline. Highlighting that the exercise of freedom of expression requires to build and maintain a free, open and inclusive Internet, they urged States to recognise the right to access and use the Internet as a human right as an essential condition for the exercise of the right to freedom of expression.  

The declaration also urges private companies to respect the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It also called for an independent and multi-stakeholder oversight, transparency and accountability mechanisms that could address private content rules that interfere with individuals’ right to enjoy freedom of expression.

The Joint Declaration was issued by David Kaye, together with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.

It is published in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.

ENDS

Mr David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact Thibaut Guillet (+41.22.917.91.58 / tguillet@ohchr.org) or Daniel Moegster (+ 41 22 9179570 /  dmogster@ohchr.org )

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

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