Global Freedom of Expression

Mission

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression seeks to advance understanding of the international and national norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information and expression in an inter-connected global community with major common challenges to address. To achieve its mission, Global Freedom of Expression undertakes and commissions research and policy projects, organizes events and conferences, and participates in and contributes to global debates on the protection of freedom of expression and information in the 21st century.

The online Global Database of Freedom of Expression Case Law is supported by a network of international experts. It surveys jurisprudence around the world, critically reviews exemplary cases, engages in comparative analysis, and aims to identify national, regional and global trends. By focusing on the role of the institution of Justice, the project aims to determine the extent to which the Justice Institutions are referencing international norms and standards, and approaching information and expression as global in nature and right.

Testimonials on Our Impact

In her testimonial about GFoE, the Honorable Lady Justice Stella Anukam from the African Court of Human & Peoples’ Rights mentioned the urgent need for judges to have useful information to defend freedom of expression and referred to our project, stating: “The Columbia University Global Case Law Database which provides access to summaries of landmark decisions as well as the latest decisions from national and regional courts around the world. It’s an invaluable resource.”

 

When discussing the importance of the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression initiative, Jean Aloise Ndiaye, director of cabinet of the First President for the Supreme Court of Senegal, noted that the Court “[has] already had to experiment with [the GFoE Case Law Database] during the workshop organized by UNESCO in Nairobi in February. We have become aware of the importance of this resource… We have decided in Senegal to share this tool with the lower courts through internal workshops that will focus on freedom of expression so that judges are better equipped to provide answers and know the international standards in terms of freedom of expression.”

Original Quote: Nous avons déjà eu à expérimenter cet outil lors de l’atelier organisé par l’UNESCO à Nairobi au mois de février. Nous avons pris conscience de l’importance de cette ressource. Aujourd’hui, nous avons décidé au Sénégal de faire partager cet outil avec les juridictions de fond à travers des ateliers internes qui porteront sur la liberté d’expression afin que les juges soient mieux outillés pour apporter des réponses et connaître les standards internationaux en matière de liberté d’expression.

Daniela Salazar Marín, judge & vice president of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, when referring to the importance of the database, highlighted the present-day state of freedom of expression in her testimonial: “In this rapidly changing environment, freedom of expression presents old and new challenges and we must be prepared to respond effectively.” For this reason, she recommended the use of our tool.

Original Quote: En referencia a la base de datos GfoE señaló, “En este entorno tan cambiante, la libertad de expresión presenta viejos y nuevos desafíos y debemos estar preparados para responder efectivamente.”

“As a magistrate for more than 40 years,” said Minister Og Fernandes, judge from the Superior Tribunal of Justice of Brazil, “I recognize that, for a more efficient delivery of justice and connected with social reality, it is essential that legal operators are always up to date with international and comparative jurisprudence on the most diverse topics.” For this reason, he continued, the GFoE Case Law Database is a pertinent tool that can and should be used by those defending freedom of expression.

Original Quote: Como magistrado há mais de 40 anos, reconheço que, para uma prestação de justiça mais eficiente e conectada com a realidade social, é fundamental que os operadores do direito estejam sempre atualizados com a jurisprudência internacional e comparada nos mais diversos temas.

In the same vein, Hicham Kantar, judge from the Lebanese Judiciary, agreed that for the judiciary, “keeping abreast of developments in modern and comparative jurisprudence on the various issues we are looking at is an essential part of our work,” and he pointed to the GFoE Case Law Database as the perfect tool that allows judicial actors to do so.

Original Quote:

بالنسبة للسلطة القضائية، يعتبر مواكبة التطورات في الاجتهادات الحديثة والمقارنة حول
القضايا المختلفة التي ننظر فيها، جزءًا أساسيًا من عملنا.
تطرح حرية التعبير تحديات جديدة وقديمة في هذه البيئة سريعة التطور، ويجب أن نكون
قادرين على الاستجابة بفعالية.
تعد قاعدة بيانات السوابق القضائية العالمية في جامعة كولومبيا، والتي توفر الوصول
إلى ملخصات الأحكام البارزة بالإضافة إلى أحدث القرارات الصادرة عن المحاكم الوطنية
والإقليمية حول العالم، موردًا بالغ الأهمية.
أود أن أدعوكم لإلقاء نظرة على هذا المورد الفريد الذي تم إنشاؤه بدعم من اليونسكو
والعديد من المحاكم والمنظمات والخبراء حول العالم.

Finally, in addition to judges, Andrei Richter, professor at Comenius University in Bratislava and former director of the Office of the OSCE Rep on Freedom of the Media, added that specialists and other legal experts outside of the courts can also access the Database to stay up to date on current trends in freedom of expression jurisprudence.

Original Quote: Судье, да и любому специалисту, важно знать и понимать современные тенденции правоприменения. Свобода выражения мнения – это та сфера отношений, где постоянно возникают новые типы участников и меняется способ распространения информации. Глобальная база данных Колумбийского университета в Нью-Йорке позволяет быть в курсе главных судебных решений, отражающих эти перемены во современном мире. Хочу пригласить вас использовать этот бесценный, хотя и бесплатный, ресурс, созданный при поддержке ЮНЕСКО и многих судей и экспертов из различных стран мира.