Attack on Media Freedom

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IBA Virtually Together Conference session IBAHRI Showcase: the attack on media freedom – a growing phenomenon

United Kingdom, London

(International Bar Association (IBA

November 23, 2020


In the last two years, more than 130 journalists have been killed for doing their jobs. Amongst other concerning global trends, Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) recorded that a total of 389 journalists were arbitrarily detained worldwide in 2019, a 12 per cent increase from 2018 – a further 64 journalists were reported missing. Leading democracies that have previously protected free speech have been implementing legal measures to restrict and punish individuals who investigate and publish information counter to state discourse. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing issues relating to these fundamental rights with the International Press Institute (IPI) reporting that as of June 2020, a record of 342 media freedom violations have been committed globally. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has served as a pretext for States to further restrict media freedom, harass, and persecute journalists and media workers. In July 2019, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) was appointed as the Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom – an independent body, convened at the request of the UK and Canadian governments. The panel comprises a diverse group of leading lawyers from around the world, led by Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury as the Chair, and leading international human rights barrister, and Deputy Chair of the High Level Panel on Media Freedom, Amal Clooney.

This is an Open Access Session, which is free to attend. We ask that you please register for this session via the zoom registration link.

This session will explore the work of the panel in addressing the increasing global attacks on media freedom and the rise of persecution against journalists and media workers. The eminent panel will also discuss the creation and aims of the Defend Media Freedom Campaign, the role of the Media Freedom Coalition, as well as the responsibilities of states, media organisations and the role of the legal profession to address these pertinent issues, heightened at this extraordinary time.