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50th session of the Human Rights Council
13 June 2022 to 8 July 2022
Agenda Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
24 June 2022
Oral statement submitted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
The Association for Progressive Communications welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur and the opportunity to engage in this dialogue.
APC wishes to reiterate its support to the Special Rapporteur’s commitment to applying a gender lens throughout her mandate work.
We agree with the Special Rapporteur in her acknowledgement that the responsibility for media freedom lies with states, but also with corporate actors.
We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s reinforcement of a broad definition of “journalist”, recognising that the professional designation of the individual is less relevant than the nature of the content and its public interest function.
In the digital context, as highlighted by the report, freedom of expression challenges are multiple, complex and often interconnected, and old problems gain new dimensions and contours.
We are particularly concerned with gender-based violence facilitated by technology, which targets in particular women and gender-non-conforming individuals, in all their diversity, working as journalists and human rights defenders and active in politics. These attacks, as stated in the report, are one of the most serious contemporary threats to their safety, to media freedom and to gender equality more broadly.
We call on states and media companies to immediately respond to the report’s recommendations. We also join the Special Rapporteur in calling on international treaty bodies to provide clear guidelines defining online violence, so that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is not compromised in efforts to safeguard women from online violence.