Freedom of expression

Notes on the 44th session of the Human Rights Council
Notes on the 44th session of the Human Rights Council 22 July 2020 APC

HRC44 wrapped up on 14 July. The internet and new technologies were in focus to a significant degree, with a number of resolutions, panels and reports touching on the online dimension of human rights. Here are some highlights of outcomes relating to human rights online at this past session.

#HoldTheLine Coalition calls for criminal tax charge to be dropped as Maria Ressa returns to court
#HoldTheLine Coalition calls for criminal tax charge to be dropped as Maria Ressa returns to court 21 July 2020 Various

The #HoldTheLine Coalition demands the Philippines authorities drop a barrage of bogus tax and foreign ownership cases against internationally celebrated journalist Maria Ressa and Rappler – the news organisation she founded.

Good news, bad news: A story of internet shutdowns in Togo and Ethiopia
Good news, bad news: A story of internet shutdowns in Togo and Ethiopia 20 July 2020 Juliet Nanfuka for CIPESA

Last month the Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice ruled that the 2017 internet shutdown in Togo was illegal. But barely a week later, Ethiopia initiated a nationwide shutdown, serving as a reminder of the persistent threat of internet shutdowns on the continent.

Rights organisation VOICE calls on Bangladeshi government to scrap repressive Digital Security Act
Rights organisation VOICE calls on Bangladeshi government to scrap repressive Digital Security Act 28 June 2020 VOICE

Rights and advocacy organisation VOICE expresses deep concern over the arrest of journalists, online activists, teachers, students, writers and cartoonists, among others, under the Digital Security Act 2018, and urges the Bangaldeshi government to scrap the law.

APC input to the public consultation on the Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation
APC input to the public consultation on the Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation 26 June 2020 APC

APC welcomes this consultation, as it is timely and integral to our work. The pandemic poses challenges for content moderation, and while we recognise that these are extraordinary times, human rights laws and principles should be the default standards guiding companies’ policies and procedures.

Engage Media's Pretty Good Podcast: Discussions on digital rights in Asia-Pacific
Engage Media's Pretty Good Podcast: Discussions on digital rights in Asia-Pacific 25 June 2020 Sara Pacia for EngageMedia

The second episode of Pretty Good Podcast delves deeper into the Philippine court cyber libel ruling against journalists Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr. of Rappler, a Philippine news organisation known to be critical of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.

Protecting human rights during and after COVID-19: Submission in response to the  joint questionnaire by Special Procedure mandate holders
Protecting human rights during and after COVID-19: Submission in response to the joint questionnaire by Special Procedure mandate holders 24 June 2020

APC welcomes the invitation of the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures to reflect on the impacts of COVID-19 on the exercise of human rights offline and online.

Brazilian disinformation bill threatens freedom of expression and privacy online
Brazilian disinformation bill threatens freedom of expression and privacy online 24 June 2020 Various

APC and other regional and global civil society organisations call on Brazilian legislators to reject the latest version of the bill and open a participatory discussion on how to respond to the challenges of disinformation while respecting Brazil’s international human rights commitments.

Thai student protesters in the time of COVID-19: New generation, new forms of resistance online
Thai student protesters in the time of COVID-19: New generation, new forms of resistance online 22 June 2020 Chonthicha Jangrew for Coconet

In early 2020, Thailand saw a wave of student protests challenging the tenure and government of the Thai prime minister, but the pandemic forced a suspension of protests. How has social media been used in response?

#DigitalLawsAsia
#DigitalLawsAsia 19 June 2020 Nerissa Naidoo for CYRILLA

From 10 - 12 June, CYRILLA and APC hosted a Twitter campaign. The purpose of #DigitalLawsAsia was to explore the human rights impacts of digital regulation in South and Southeast Asia.

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