07.03.2017 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Judicial Schools from Iberoamerica will jointly validate a Toolkit on freedom of expression

From March 8 to 9, 2017, the validation meeting of the Toolkit on freedom of expression, access to public information, transparency and safety of journalists will take place in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). This activity and the material which is produced by UNESCO and the Ibero-American Network of Judicial Schools (RIAEJ), with the support of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Open Society Foundations and the Government of Sweden is aimed at Judges, trainers of judicial schools,

The event which will be hosted by the National Judiciary School of Dominican Republic, will receive officials from judicial schools from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Uruguay. The event will be opened by Dr Mariano Germán Mejía, President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Dominican Republic.

According to Gervasia Valenzuela, Director of the National Judiciary School, "it is with satisfaction that the Dominican Republic will host this training of trainers on freedom of expression and access to information event, organized by UNESCO. It is an important to guarantee the Rule of law, an issue the Dominican Republic pays special attention to doing."

During the activity, a general presentation of the Toolkit will be carried out. Following the presentation the participants will analyze and exchange each of its modules. The content that will be validated is presented in six study units that cover the following topics:

  • The International Legal Framework of Freedom of Expression;
  • Violence against freedom of expression and the role of judges in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against persons in retaliation for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression, or as a mechanism to prevent them from exercising this right;
  • New challenges to freedom of expression on the internet;
  • Diversity and pluralism in the media.

Two additional sessions will address, the issue of competence when teaching and evaluating judicial operators and strategies and instruments for the evaluation of training. The contributions and resolutions of the meeting will contribute to the publication of the final material by UNESCO and its partners in this Project.

Guilherme Canela, Regional Adviser for Communication and Information of UNESCO says "it will be the opportunity to continue to implement UNESCO's global agreement with the Ibero-American Summit of Judges. The central theme of this agreement is to strengthen the roles of Ibero-American judicial officials in the protection and promotion of freedom of expression, access to public information, transparency and the safety of journalists. "

Following the Meeting, on the 10th March, a Working Meeting will be held between the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, representatives of Judicial Schools from Central America, and the Dominican Republic. This meeting is part of the project for the consolidation of judicial systems as key players in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression in Latin America and has the supported by the government of the United States. Specifically, the working session will focus on the definition of the next steps to be taken towards the development of a permanent module in each Central American Judicial School for the training of justice operators in matters of freedom of expression standards and the organization of training at the national level.

According to Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights "This initiative, in addition to promoting and collaborating with States to fulfill their international responsibilities, is the most effective way to guarantee national justice in cases of freedom of expression ".

The meeting for the validation of the Toolkit on freedom of expression, access to public information, transparency and security of journalists, is held within the framework of the UNESCO Regional Initiative on Institutional Strengthening for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Expression, Transparency, access to information and security of journalists, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16, of peace, justice and institutions (Agenda 2030).

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