» UNESCO launches the 4th edition of online course on freedom of expression for Ibero-American justice systems
02.11.2017 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

UNESCO launches the 4th edition of online course on freedom of expression for Ibero-American justice systems

For the 'International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2017', UNESCO launches the 4th edition of the course that has already been carried out by approximately five thousand judicial operators in Latin America

Declared of interest by the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, the online course “International Legal Framework of Freedom of Expression, Access to Public Information and Protection of Journalists” will take place from April 2nd to May 13th, 2018. Offered free of charge, the course emphasizes that freedom of expression and the right to information are fundamental rights that enable the exercise of all other human rights.

The main objective of the initiative is to offer justice system operators in Latin America, especially teachers and students of Judicial Schools and magistrates, updated knowledge so that these important representatives of society can make decisions in line with international frameworks of freedom of expression.

In the 2006-2016 period, more than 930 journalists were killed for reporting news and bringing information to public opinion, and nine out of ten cases murderers remain unpunished. Keeping in line with the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2017", and COLPIN 2017, the course has opened the application period. This initiative co-organized by UNESCO and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, in cooperation with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas of the University of Texas. Guilherme Canela, UNESCO's Communication and Information Advisor, highlights that justice system operators "are key actors in decisions related to the protection and promotion of freedom of expression, access to public information and protection of journalists. Impunity leads to more murders, generating a vicious and dangerous cycle. Impunity harms the entire society and conceals abuses, corruption and crimes".

With regard to Latin America and the Caribbean, between the period of 2006-2015, UNESCO condemned 176 murders of journalists and denounced the high rates of impunity of such cases. The online course International Legal Framework of Freedom of Expression, Access to Public Information and Protection of Journalists, demonstrates the purpose of building a broad regional dialogue with the justice operators of Latin America and the Caribbean on the protection and promotion of freedom of expression in the context of the Judicial Powers.

For Lidia Brito, Director of UNESCO's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, the course transcends the basic idea of training. "It is the fourth edition of an opportunity and possibility of building knowledge for all and all judicial operators seeking a more thorough understanding of international standards."

Following these sentiments, Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights states that "this is a joint effort of the Office of the Rapporteur and of UNESCO with the objective of cooperating with the Judicial Powers of the region in the permanent training of magistrates in the complex subject of the content and scope of freedom of expression. It is also the most effective way to guarantee national justice in cases of freedom of expression".

Offered for free, the course has coordinated with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and has the support of the Latin American Network of Judicial Schools, the Foundation for Freedom of the Press, the Latin American Internet Association, the University of the Andes and the Government of Sweden. As a methodology, the initiative presents the online training program of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas of the University of Texas at Austin for the development of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), which was adapted for the theme of freedom of expression, access to information and protection of journalists by UNESCO and by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

The course takes place exclusively in the virtual environment, with no live classes, where students must participate in weekly discussions and complete assigned activities over the 6 weeks. The content is divided into modules with the following themes:

  1. General Introduction to the International Legal Framework for Freedom of Expression.
  2. Violence against freedom of expression: the role of the judiciary in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against individuals as a reprisal for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression or as a mechanism to prevent them from exercising this right.
  3. Limits to the exercise of freedom of expression: the difficulties arising from the use of criminal law.
  4. Introduction to the new challenges of freedom of expression on the internet.
  5. The right of access to information and freedom of expression.
  6. Diversity and pluralism in the media.

To apply prior to the International Legal Framework Course on Freedom of Expression, Access to Public Information and Protection of Journalists, interested parties must register here

 




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