2018 Justice for Free Expression Conference


On April 25-26, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression hosted its third Justice for Freedom of Expression Conference. The biennial event brought together experts, academics, legal practitioners and activists from some 30 countries to highlight the changing environment for free speech and press freedom through a focus on jurisprudence, laws and policies from around the world. It was an opportunity to discuss the challenges to free speech doctrines and jurisprudence, in a context characterized by the rise in populism and intolerance, the shrinking of civil society and of democratic space and an increasingly disruptive digital world. To this day, the Conference remains the only forum focusing on global jurisprudence related to freedom of expression. This year’s Conference was also unique in that it served as a platform for the launch of the 2018 Corporate Accountability Index prepared by Ranking Digital Rights.

The Conference Themes

The 2018 Justice for Free Expression Conference opened with an Update from the Global Freedom of Expression Community about their latest initiatives and work to strengthen a global understanding of freedom of expression. During the panel, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression presented its new Teaching Portal, planned for launch in the summer of 2018.

Then, the conversation focused on Global Milestones and Challenges. Regional freedom of expression experts such as Vidushi Marda of Article 19 | India, Andrey Rikhter of the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media at the OSCE, Jameel Jaffer of the Knight First Amendment Center, and others debated on freedom of expression developments in law and jurisprudence.

The remaining five panels focused on specific themes, beginning with a discussion on Private Actors and Human Rights On-Line and ending with an exploration of laws and courts Regulate Lies and “Fake News” in Elections.

To see all of the panels, please download the Conference Agenda.

The Participants

The richness of the discussions at the Conference was made possible by our great community of experts, academics, legal practitioners and activists. Over 50 speakers and some 100 attendees shared their knowledge and perspectives, debated current and future issues, and collaborated on existing and new initiatives over the two days of the event. Further, the speakers selection achieved gender balance and regional diversity, with some 30 countries represented.

The list of speakers is included in the Conference Agenda.


«There was a lot of very fresh and impressive content there throughout though – with interesting case studies from all regions»

Bill Orme – Founding Partner at International Media Development Advisers

Panel Videos