IBAHRI Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
The IBAHRI has been appointed as the Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom (High Level Panel), an independent body that was convened in July 2019 at the request of the UK and Canadian governments. The High Level Panel comprises a diverse group of leading lawyers from around the world. The Chair of the High Level Panel is Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury and his Deputy Chairs are Catherine Amirfar and Can Yeginsu.
The remit of the High Level Panel is to provide advice and recommendations to governments to prevent and reverse abuses of media freedom. The High Level Panel will propose initiatives that can be taken by governments to ensure existing international obligations relating to media freedom are upheld, disseminate elements for model legislation to promote and protect a vibrant free press, and report on means of raising the cost to those who target journalists for their work.
In line with their remit, during the first phase of their programme from July 2019-July 2021, the High Level Panel proposed initiatives that can be taken by governments to ensure that existing international obligations relating to media freedom are upheld, disseminate elements for model legislation to promote and protect a vibrant free press, and report on means of raising the cost to those who target journalists for their work. Additionally, the High Level Panel, provided technical legal assistance to states and international organisations to improve media freedom, including by, working with relevant state bodies and international organisations to advise on repealing and updating legislation that is outdated or which restricts media freedom and ensuring new legislation meets international standards related to media freedom and the safety of journalists.
During the second phase of the High Level Panel’s programme of work, they will be engaged in advocacy and implementation of the recommendations contained within the reports published during the first phase, continuing to provide technical legal assistance to states and international organisations and strengthening the capacity of the legal profession to defend of journalists and media workers across the globe.
High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom - Interview with Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
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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.
Technical Legal Assistance
The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom accepts technical legal assistance requests from states and international organisations. The High Level Panel will review requests against their remit, priorities and commitments. Requests should be sent to the IBAHRI Secretariat.
Press Releases, Articles and Submissions
The rule of law is arguably the most basic requirement of any civilised society, and an independent judiciary, to which access is available to all citizens, is an essential ingredient of the rule of law. Freedom of expression is also fundamental in a democratic society, in which the courts and the media have vital and complementary institutional roles.
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the secret trial that led to the final verdict against the unnamed defendants who killed prominent dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October 2018
To mark the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom are issuing a statement on the challenges posed to media freedom in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Events and Media Coverage
Voice of America, 1 December 2020
The Guardian, 15 May 2020
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 11 July 2019
IBAHRI Secretariat Contact Details
Zara Iqbal, Programme Lawyer
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
5 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LG