Global Freedom of Expression

Special Collection of the Case Law on freedom of Expression

The Global Freedom of Expression Special Collection of the case law on freedom of expression is a series of publications, which aims to provide a global outlook of some of the most significant legal decisions adopted by national and international tribunals on relevant topics regarding freedom of expression. The collection is based on judgments incorporated into the Global Freedom of Expression Case Law Database. Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, an initiative of Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, seeks to contribute to the development of an integrated and progressive jurisprudence and to advance understanding of the norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information and expression.

In this first series of the collection, the reader will find seven different publications that will provide an overview of some of the main issues being discussed in freedom of expression case law worldwide. Whereas the first three showcase the case law of the regional human rights tribunals, the remaining publications focus on case law from courts around the world regarding selected topics touching upon freedom of expression issues. The first series will be published between March and May 2022, with individual publications on the following topics: Case Law of the Inter-American System of Human Rights; Case Law of the African System of Human and Peoples’ Rights; Case Law of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights; Privacy and Freedom of Expression; Disinformation, Misinformation and False News; Content Moderation on the Internet, and Violence Against Journalists.

Each publication features a brief description of specific cases, emphasizing some of the most important conclusions reached by relevant courts and tribunals. The case briefs reproduce the analysis of each case published in our database and will be organized into subtopics that highlight the main issues analyzed by the courts. Finally, each publication will be complemented with a general introduction to contextualize the provided case law.

The purpose of this special collection is two-fold. First, it aims to centralize and systematize some of the most significant legal decisions adopted around the globe on freedom of expression into one series of publications. The information will be presented with a classification that highlights some of the most relevant issues being developed through the jurisprudence on the topic of each paper. Second, it serves as a road map to consult the database developed by Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression initiative. Throughout these publications, readers will be able to access all the information found in the database for each case, which encompasses, inter alia, a detailed explanation of the facts of the case; a decision overview; the national and international standards, law and jurisprudence cited in the judgment; the decision’s direction within the general jurisprudence, and the significance of the case.

We hope that the collection provides judges, lawyers, academics, civil society, and all key actors with a useful tool for the defense of freedom of expression around the world.



Lee C. Bollinger

Catalina Botero-Marino


Carlo Carvajal Aguilar

Hawley Johnson

José Ignacio Michaus Fernandez


Ramiro Álavarez-Ugarte, Editor of the paper on violence against journalists

Anderson Dirocie, Editor of the paper on the case law of the Inter-American System

Hawley Johnson, Editor of the paper on the case law regarding disinformation, misinformation and fake news

Jennifer Veloz, Editor of the paper on the case law of the African System of Human and Peoples’ Rights


The Directors and Editors of the present collection would like to recognize and express their gratitude to all the people whose efforts and talents made the collection a reality. These publications were only possible thanks to the analysis and selection of cases for the database by a wide number of experts and contributors collaborating with Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. The case briefs presented in this collection reproduce the analysis of the cases published in our database, which was only possible due to their invaluable contribution. The Directors and Editors would also like to give a special mention to the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights for his review of the cases regarding the Inter-American Human Rights System included in the English and Spanish databases.

Download information on the Collection here. 

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