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Specialist organisations and resources

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Description/subject: Mandate: The Special Rapporteur is mandated by HRC resolution 7/36: (a) To gather all relevant information, wherever it may occur, relating to violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, discrimination against, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution or intimidation directed at persons seeking to exercise or to promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including, as a matter of high priority, against journalists or other professionals in the field of information; (b) To seek, receive and respond to credible and reliable information from Governments, non-governmental organizations and any other parties who have knowledge of these cases; (c) To make recommendations and provide suggestions on ways and means to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression in all its manifestations; and (d) To contribute to the provision of technical assistance or advisory services by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Working methods In the discharge of his mandate the Special Rapporteur: a) Transmits urgent appeals and letters of allegation to Member States on alleged violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Special Rapporteur summarises these communications as well as replies received from Governments in an annual report submitted to the Human Rights Council (See Individual Complaints). b) Undertakes fact-finding country visits. c) Submits annual reports covering activities relating to the mandate to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly (starting in 2010 for the latter).
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2011


Individual Documents

Title: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue
Date of publication: 16 May 2011
Description/subject: Summary: "This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyberattacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report. The first addendum to the report comprises a summary of communications sent by the Special Rapporteur between 20 March 2010 and 31 March 2011, and the replies received from Governments. The second and third addenda contain the findings of the Special Rapporteur’s missions to the Republic of Korea and Mexico respectively."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/HRC/17/27)
Format/size: pdf (135K)
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2011