IBA launches media law and freedom of expression website to assist lawyers globally

21 January 2009

The International Bar Association’s (IBA) Media Law Committee together with the IBA’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) have today launched a valuable new website targeted at legal professionals and organisations across the globe that work to defend freedom of expression. The Media Law and Freedom of Expression website is located at, http://www.probono.net/medialaw/.

The goal of the site is to create a global community of media lawyers for mutual support and discussion. The website will act as a point of information sharing, capacity building and networking for those involved in media work all over the world. In particular, it will provide details of, and links to, local and global organisations working in the sector. Joining the site is free, and members have access to a wide range of linked sites and resources, including country summaries of national and international guarantees for freedom of expression, media law cases of particular interest and the latest global media law and freedom of expression news. Individuals and organisations are also encouraged to contribute their own resources, and to promote upcoming events and news items.

The website is part of a larger IBAHRI project on freedom of expression. It follows a series of successful projects undertaken with a group of media defence lawyers in Southeast Asia, including training sessions, trial observations and amicus curiae brief submissions.
Mark Stephens, Chair of the IBA’s Media Law Committee, said: ‘Lawyers in many countries across the world do not have access to resources or specialist training in media law. We hope that this site will enable legal professionals to share their knowledge and learn from each other, helping them to overcome the challenges they may face and build a strong network of knowledge and support.’

Justice Richard Goldstone, Co-chair of the IBAHRI, said: ‘Freedom of expression is vital to uphold democracy and accountability in all societies, and essential for maintaining a strong rule of law. This site is a valuable resource for lawyers defending this fundamental human right.’

The Media Law and Freedom of Expression website is hosted by Pro Bono Net and funded by the Open Society Initiative.

ENDS


For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
Press Office
10th Floor
1 Stephen Street
London W1T 1AT
United Kingdom

Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7691 6837
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7691 6868
Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731915
Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544
E-mail: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

Notes to the editor

About the IBA Media Law Committee

The Media Law Committee is dedicated to gathering and disseminating, amongst its members and friends, knowledge in all areas of law related to the media industry. This encompasses both content and communication issues. Content, as the core of media law, is traditionally governed by national rules, but communication has long ceased to be a purely national matter; and as it more and more tends to be circulated on an international or even worldwide basis, content nowadays is also to be seen as an objective of the international legal environment.

About Pro Bono Net

Pro Bono Net is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through increased volunteer lawyer participation and innovative use of technology. Founded in 1998, Pro Bono Net has created a powerful network of nonprofit legal aid providers, courts and bar associations across the United States and Canada. This network uses two Web-based platforms—www.probono.net and www.lawhelp.org—to recruit and manage volunteers, and to provide legal information and tools for low-income communities and the organizations that serve them. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation described Pro Bono Net as ‘a model for other nonprofits that are looking to create innovative, technology-based delivery systems that are sustainable over the long term.’ For more information, visit www.probono.net.

About the IBA’s Human Rights Institute

Established in 1995 under the honorary presidency of Nelson Mandela, the IBA's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is a leading voice in the promotion of the rule of law worldwide. The IBAHRI works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law. The IBAHRI believes in the fundamental right of the world’s citizens to have disputes heard and determined by an independent judiciary, and for judges and lawyers to be able to practice freely without interference.