IBAHRI Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom - Reports
Panel Periodical Reports
The Panel has arranged for the IBAHRI Secretariat to produce periodic reports that detail their plans and the work they have undertaken.Download latest report
Throughout 2020, the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom produced a series of four advisory reports that focus on improving international mechanisms to enforce international human rights norms.
The Panel is considering a model for an international investigative team that can be deployed to gather evidence and report on abuses of media freedom where the territorial state is unwilling or unable to do so effectively. This report takes into account the views of UN Special Rapporteurs, the Council of Europe and other regional and international institutions, and includes an assessment of current proposals relating to international bodies to investigate human rights abuses including, but not limited to, violations of media freedom.
The Panel is considering best practices for states to provide safe refuge for journalists and those engaging in journalistic activity who have been targeted for their work. This includes identifying one or more models of protection that complies with international human rights standards and best practices in this area. Guidance for states will not only consider legislative proposals but also questions of policy in cases involving abuses of media freedom.
The Panel is considering best practices for states to provide consular assistance to their nationals who are journalists or other media actors who have been investigated or arrested abroad in circumstances that suggest they are being targeted for their work. The Panel’s analysis addresses minimum standards for consular assistance under international law as well as best practices in this area while addressing issues such as having a consular representative attend court hearings, seeking to ensure that the journalist has access to counsel including through the Media Freedom Legal Defence Fund where necessary and possible, and translating and publishing a report on the proceedings and the judgment (unless the journalist or his counsel request otherwise).
The Panel will review best practices regarding targeted sanctions to protect the victims of serious human rights abuses, including journalists and those engaging in journalistic activity. The Panel will issue recommendations on sanctions related to abuses of media freedom, either drawn from existing models or suggesting a new standard. This report will be published and presented to governments, focusing on those that can contribute most effectively to the enforcement of international human rights norms. The Panel regards this project as a priority given the strong support for targeted sanctions at senior levels of government in the US, UK, and Canada, as well as ongoing developments within the EU and UK to develop autonomous ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions regimes.
International Standards Reports
The Panel is working with leading academic institutions and law firms around the world to provide advice on model elements for the drafting and interpretation of legislation in line with international human rights standards.
(1) reviewing the laws that are most frequently used to target media freedom and studying their use in prosecutions around the world;
(2) reviewing national and international standards relevant to such laws;
(3) reviewing existing guidance issued by international experts and bodies; and
(4) providing practical advice to governments, legislators and judges on drafting legislation, including specific guidance on penalties and language that would comply with international human rights law and reflect best practices in this area.
The Panel is currently addressing laws that are most frequently used to target journalists and those undertaking journalistic activity in six separate reports covering:
- Sedition, criminal / civil defamation, lèse majeste, and similar laws
- Misinformation and Disinformation
- Blasphemy and Hate Speech
- Antiterrorism and Public Order
- Espionage and Official Secrets