Author: Matei-Eugen Vasile

Take the first steps in understanding online and offline freedom of expression

ApTI together with the Internet Freedom Network partners under the Internet Freedom Program launched It is a project with the purpose of teaching people about online and offline freedom of expression using the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence. The project is accompanied by a brochure which you can download in .pdf format.

The Internet significantly changed our lives in many respects, including the way we access published information. But, most importantly, it enhanced our exercising of our freedom of expression both by allowing easy access to sources of information and by the liberalization of publishing any kind of information. This transformed freedom of expression, especially online, into something everybody is interested in.

How did the project came to be

First, the subject seems to be of interest not just for professional journalists but for all types of Internet users with various educational backgrounds and, usually, little legal knowledge. Nevertheless, they are all involved in communication on the Internet and they sometimes claim that their freedom of expression is being infringed upon.

Secondly, the decision making process in regard to the freedom of expression seems frequently rushed, without enough time being dedicated to real public debate and evidence-based policymaking. This is particularly true in some countries in South-Eastern Europe. As a consequence, fragments from ECHR argumentations and conclusions can be used as widely accepted references and, thus, as useful tools in debates.

Thirdly, being faced with the huge flow of available information nowadays, many users are looking for summarized, easy to understand information in order to form and opinion.

On the project’s page you can find out what freedom of expression is, what its limits are and why it is sometimes restricted by governments.


How to understand the project page and the brochure

The presented cases should be use only as a point of reference. The ECHR jurisprudence is always evolving, sometimes in self-contradictory ways. Sometimes it can be criticized because, sometimes, it can have disappointing results for supporters and advocates of the fundamental human right to the freedom of expression. Furthermore, the technological evolution of the Internet can change some fundamental assertions that today we hold as true.

The summarization of the current ECHR jurisprudence comes at a cost that needs to be mentioned. First, the information in this brochure in no way constitute legal advice. Secondly, the editors needed to limit the information they had in order to keep the brochure succinct enough, which is something that some legal professionals could consider as a limitation. Also, for brevity’s sake, we were forced to cover some important aspects only summarily, such as “hate speech” or “protection of journalistic sources”

Article by George Hari Popescu, ApTI Romania, original article in Romanian:

Romanian MEPs you’ve got mail! Over 100 postcards saying no to link tax and Internet censorship

FotoJetIn the last month, more and more Romanian voice are gathering to send out a clear message to decision makers: We don’t want link taxes and upload filters!

Besides calling and sending letters to Romanian MEPs to delete Articles 11&13 from the copyright reform proposal, EDRi member ApTI organised a series of activities to trigger more public attention regarding the damaging copyright reform proposals. Along with 57 other civil rights organizations, we also signed the Civil Liberties Union for Europe open letter to stop the censorship machine. (more…)

EU Copyright Reform Directive debate with MEP Victor Negrescu

Friday, June 23rd, ApTI along with ANBPR (The National Association of Librarians and Public Libraries of Romania) and CJI (The Center for Independent Journalism) organized a meeting about the European Commission’s Directive proposal on the copyright reform Directive. Romanian MEP Victor Negrescu took part in the event.

This came in the context of the Europe-wide effort to mitigate the damage that the EU Copyright Directive threatens to inflict on human rights and on the Internet in the EU. The biggest two problems are Article 11, which would introduce an ancillary right for press publishers, a.k.a. “the link tax” and Article 13, which would mandate all EU-based online platforms that allow user-made content to implement upload filters, under the guise of protecting copyrights. (more…)

Declaration on Development and Enhancement of Legal Frameworks in Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia to Protect Internet Freedom

  • WHEREAS, we are civil society organizations in Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia working for fostering of the freedom of expression, association and flow of information on the Internet
  • WHEREAS, the signatories met in Ohrid (October 2016) and Brussels (March 2017) and discussed common issues on Internet Freedom
  • WHEREAS, we share a common objective for a global Internet Freedom, based on our experiences of defending it in our countries;
  • WHEREAS we share common understanding that regional cooperation is essential to achieving this objective.