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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) presents these brief contributions on the issue of gender justice and its intersection with the right to freedom of opinion and expression, from a feminist lens. APC acknowledges that technology-mediated environments can be conducive to hindering expression by exacerbating gender-based violence against women and other people who experience multiple and intersecting forms of exclusion and discrimination in all spheres of human interaction. We also acknowledge that a deep understanding of ICT-related implications is crucial to thwart potential risks of gender-based violence and its impacts on freedom of expression and opinion. We offer some recommendations that resulted from our research work and share some good practices to combat online gender-based violence and reinforce the exercise of the rights related to this mandate.

By reviewing the repercussions that gendered disinformation has on women’s public participation, activism and work, we provide a reflection on the main barriers, challenges and threats that result in the curtailment of expression and the chilling effect it has on a wide range of rights, including sexual rights, the right to participate in public affairs, and the right to be free from discrimination, among others. We look at the role of governments and social media platforms and offer recommendations oriented to the adoption of an integral approach to gendered disinformation as a problem related to but different from gender-based online violence.

Women’s ability to have meaningful internet access has a direct correlation with the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and opinion and other rights, online and offline. We underscore that bridging the gender digital divides demands an approach that is located within economic, social, political and cultural contexts that recognise existing structural inequalities. We provide recommendations towards deepening the understanding of the problem and creating an enabling environment for addressing the disparities in access to digital technologies.

APC welcomes the call of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to reflect on the intersections between gender justice and the right to freedom of opinion and expression and appreciates the opportunity to provide contributions.

Read the submission here.