Within the field of human rights, non-governmental organizations play a crucial role in adding substance to the broad ideals set out in international law. Building upon established jurisprudence, statements made by organizations such as CLD can play a positive role in the progressive development of international human rights standards. By providing clear statements on how the law should evolve, CLD seeks to serve as a catalyst for positive change.
In a Joint Declaration the UN, OAS, OSCE and African Commission, focused on the importance of diversity of opinion in the upcoming changes to media coverage in the world, in a statement prepared in part by the Centre for Law and Democracy. Without diversity of opinion it becomes more difficult to achieve true freedom of expression. The Joint Declaration highlights a number of important aspects States should take to promote and protect freedom of expression, including an open and consultative decision making process and a lack of political or commercial interference in regulatory bodies. The declaration is also available in Spanish, French and Arabic.
Cognisant of its critical role in the promotion and protection of all fundamental rights, crimes against freedom of expression are particularly serious and should be unequivocally condemned and prohibited by State officials. In order to assist stakeholders in fulfilling their obligations, the Centre for Law and Democracy was pleased to provide support and expertise in drafting the 12th Joint Declaration by the four special international mandates tasked with promoting and protecting freedom of expression – the UN, OAS, OSCE and ACHPR. CLD hopes that this Joint Declaration, which raises awareness of crimes against freedom of expression, will encourage states to take concrete measures to promote and protect this fundamental right. The Declaration is also available in Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish.
CLD published a comparative report on international and comparative constitutional guarantees of the right to information. The report, Entrenching RTI: An Analysis of Constitutional Protections of the Right to Information, is part of CLD’s ongoing work to support right to information reform in Egypt. At the same time, the standards outlined in the report are relevant to any country undergoing constitutional reform in this area. The report outlines in some detail international standards recognising as a human right the right to access information held by public authorities, as well as the specific standards for this right which have been developed in international law. It also describes the main features found in most constitutional guarantees of the right to information, along with some of the more cutting edge features found in some recent constitutions.
The report is also available in Arabic.
This guide was published by the Transparency and Accountability Initiative with the aim of helping governments that are participating in the Open Government Partnership to understand international best practice for promoting transparency and accountability. Chapter 14, on the Right to Information, was authored by CLD and Access Info Europe.
The popularization of the internet has revolutionized the concept of free expression by providing unprecedented opportunities for the communication of ideas. In order to assist legislators, judges, and civil society groups in adapting to this new reality, the Centre for Law and Democracy was pleased to provide support and expertise towards the drafting of the 11th Joint Declaration by the four specialized mandates of the UN, OAS, OSCE and African Commission tasking with promoting and protecting freedom of expression. CLD hopes that this Joint Declaration, which recognizes access to the internet as a right, will encourage states to take concrete measures to promote and protect universal access to the internet. The Declaration is also available in Arabic, Russian, and Spanish.
3 May is World Press Freedom Day, declared as such by UNESCO following its 3 May of 1991 in Windhoek, Namibia. Every year, on 3 May UNESCO hosts a major international conference in a different part of the world, and with a different theme. The theme for WPFD this year as Freedom of Information, the Right to Know. CLD was asked to participated in the working group which prepared the Declaration.
On an annual basis since 1999, the (now) four special international mandates on freedom of expression – the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, 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 – have adopted a Joint Declaration on a different freedom of expression theme. The Executive Director of CLD, Toby Mendel, has provided expertise and support to them in the preparation of all of these Joint Declarations, including the 10th one, adopted in early 2010. This 10th Declaration looks forward to the ten key threats to freedom of expression over the upcoming decade.