Second Regional Internet Freedom Summit to take place in Macedonia

Next week, from 22 to 24 March, ABA ROLI will host the second Regional Internet Freedom Summit, organized in cooperation with the members of the Internet Freedom Platform of Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia.

More than 120 Internet freedom experts and human rights activists from Europe and Eurasia will gather together in Struga, #Macedonia, to discuss the latest developments in online freedom of expression, privacy, and cybersecurity. (more…)

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 cases.internetfreedom.blog. 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.

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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: https://apti.ro/freex-apti-ro-cazuri-cedo-libertate-exprimare-sectiune-brosura

Improving Legal Safeguards for Internet Freedom in Georgia

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Balancing internet freedom and protecting citizens from harmful online activities and content can be complicated. In Georgia, this debate is playing out as authorities seek to update regulations to protect internet consumers and providers within the country. Originally adopted in 2006, Georgia’s “Regulation on Provision of Services and Protection of Consumer Rights in the Sphere of Electronic Communications,” requires modification. The grounds for deeming content as unallowable are vague and leave room for interpretation. As a subgrantee of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), recently prepared seven legislative initiatives to help strike the balance between freedom and protection by better defining what can be considered inadmissible content. (more…)

IFEX’s Faces of Free Expression from Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia

IFEX, a global network of independent non-governmental organizations working to defend and promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, published “The Faces of Free Expression” – 102 profiles of human rights defenders from around the world, drawing attention to their struggles. 16 of them are from the region of Eastern and Central Europe and Eurasia.

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