jeudi 20 juillet 2017

Invitation to Quatar. Freedom of opinion ...

By Francisco Anzola - Doha skyline in the morning, CC BY 2.0,

Wars or peace ?

Threats to freedom of opinion !

Invitation to “The International Conference on confronting threats to freedom of opinion and expression and access to information


DOHA 24 JULY-25 JULY 2017
Day One
Registration of participants
9.00 –10.00
Opening session
  • Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri , President of National Human Rights Committee ( HNRC )
  • Mr. Mohammad Ali Al-Nusur, Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Mr.Younes M' Jahed, Senior Vice-President of International Federation of Journalists ( IFJ )
  • Mr. John Yearwood, President of  International Press Institute ( IPI )
  • Mr.Giacomo Mezzone , European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
Coffee Break

10.30 – 12:30
Freedom of Expression:  Facing Up to the Threat
Chair: Jim Boumelha, International Federation of Journalists
  • Imen Ladjimi, Article 19
  • Tim Dawson, National Union of Journalists, UK and Ireland
  • Elena Chernievska, Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Representative on Freedom of the Media
  • Daoud Kuttab, Community Media Network, Jordan
  • Dominique Pradalie, Senior journalist, formerly of France Television

14:00 – 15:30
Work session (1):    
Legal and regulatory ecology
Work session (2):    
For a pluralistic, independent and free media
Chair: …….

  • Luckson Chipare ,Media Institute South Africa
  • Rodney Dixon, Temple Gaedens Chamber, UK
  • Prof. Curtis F. J. Doebler, University of Makeni, USA
  • Jim Killock, Open rights, UK
Chair: Seamus Dooley, Acting General Secretary NUJ Ireland
  • Larry Goldbetter ,National Writers Union, USA
  • Kathy Kiely, Nationa Press Club Journalism Institute, Washington
  • Melody Patry ,Index on Censorship
  • Dr. Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of Al jazeera
  • Mr. Jaber Bin Shafaa, Doha Center for Media Freedom
Coffee Break
16:00 – 17:30
Work session (3):  
Protecting journalists on the frontline
Panel Session (4):
Facing up to rights and wrongs
Chair:  Marius Lukosiunas, UNESCO
  • Dr Carmen Draghici ,City Univessity, London  
  • Zuliana Lainez ,Federation of Journalists of Latin America
  • John Yearwood, International Press Institute
  • Al Sadiq Al-Rezaigi, Sudanese Journalists Union
  • Haydee Dijkstal, Lawyer at International Criminal Court
Chair: Moubia Belafia, france 24
  • Prof. Chris Frost ,Liverpool James Moores University
  • Prof. J. Fernandez ,Curtis University, Western Australia
  • Mr.Tom Law, Ethical Journalism Initiative
  • Prof. Khaled Hroub, Northwestern University, Qatar

Day Two
Tuesday 25 July
9.00 – 11:00
  • James Tager, PEN America
  • Yolanda Qintana, Platforma de defensa de la libertad de informacion PDLI, Spain
  • Barbie Zelizer, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania;
  • James Cusick, Editor Open Media,UK
  • Beth Costa,
Coffee Break
11:30 – 12.00
Report back from work sessions
12:00 – 13:00

International Conference on “Freedom of Expression: Facing Up to the Threat” 24- 25 July 2017 Ritz Carlton Hotel Doha, Qatar Freedom of opinion and expression, and its corollaries press freedom and freedom of information, are considered as cornerstones for the promotion of international peace and security for every democratic and free society. They are also considered as indispensable for the development of individuals and the consolidation of the principles of transparency and accountability, which in turn are essential for the promotion and protection of all human rights. They also constitute the fundamental basis for the full enjoyment of a wide range of other human rights, including the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and the right to participate in public affairs. Exchanging information and opinions freely is essential for the development of societies. Pluralistic, uncensored, unobstructed and free media that are able to comment on public issues and inform public opinion without censorship or restraint are indispensable in any society. The public also has the right, in return, to receive what the media produces. Many United Nations bodies have repeatedly stressed that freedom of opinion and expression are the cornerstones of a democratic society and prerequisites for progress and development. Free media help build inclusive societies and democracy of knowledge, and promote intercultural dialogue, peace and good governance. UN bodies also call on States to pay particular attention to the promotion of independent and pluralistic media, and emphasize that the rights that people have offline must also be protected online, particularly with regards to freedom of expression. International and regional human rights mechanisms also make it clear that freedom of opinion and expression are the basis for participation in public affairs, accountability, sustainable development, human development and the exercise of all other rights. The right to freedom of expression enables vibrant, multi-faceted public interest debates giving voice to different perspectives and viewpoints, while ensuring a respectful and enabling environment for dialogue and discussion, stimulating exchange and examination of opinions and developing critical thinking. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both assert the right of everyone to hold opinions, without interference, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and by any means, including any technical mode. The ICCPR, which is of pivotal importance to human rights law, provides the main legal standard for the vast majority of the principles and guarantees relating to freedom of opinion and expression. It provides that any form of effort to coerce the holding or not holding of any opinion and to punish, harass, or intimidate individuals due to their opinions is prohibited. Freedom of opinion may not be restricted even in time of public emergency. According to the ICCPR, no restrictions may be placed on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The restrictions on freedom of expression should be clearly defined, and moreover, should reflect an urgent need and should be the least restrictive of freedoms of expression. They should be justified on the basis of the interests to be protected and applied in the narrowest possible manner. There should also be no excessive restrictions on access to information. Otherwise, States must prohibit by law any propaganda for war or any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. States imposing restrictions on freedom of expression shall be responsible for their compliance with the above-mentioned requirements and other conditions guaranteed by international human rights law. Although the constitutions of the major countries of the world and, many national legislations, call for freedom of opinion and expression, this is not always clearly reflected on the ground. In recent years, freedom of expression has been further restricted in many countries in different regions of the world, and journalists have been increasingly subjected to abuses, including searches, confiscation, expulsion, threats, abduction, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, imprisonment and torture. These measures and other acts violate not only the right of journalists to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, but also the public's right to know. Some countries justify their restrictions on freedom of expression with reference, for instance, to the ‘war on terror’, or the outbreak of armed conflict or political disagreements. In doing so they violate the principles guaranteed in international human rights law, which is considered in some cases as a backlash against respect for human rights in those States, and have been condemned by many human rights commissions and organizations. While modern technologies, including digital broadcasting, mobile phones, the Internet and social networks, enable an environment that supports freedom of expression and the right to access and exchange information, they also constitute major challenges to governments' ability to impose restrictions on freedom of expression and exchange of information. However, these technologies are also used by some States and non-State actors to broadcast false news and information to mislead the public in a way that violates human rights by impacting on their right to know, receive and share information. They are also used to incite to hatred, discrimination, racism and violence, and even as platforms for supporting terrorism. These technologies have also created other challenges, such as cybercrime and new patterns of transnational crime. The challenges to freedom of expression and exchange/access to information that have accompanied the rapid spread of modern technologies can be addressed. These challenges have been the subject of many studies, declarations and reports prepared by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the OSCE representative on freedom of information, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights and Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as in numerous initiatives by international, regional and national civil society organizations. However, some States have used these challenges as an excuse and cover for justifying imposing restrictions in violation of the requirements of international human rights law, the right to freedom of expression and the right to access and exchange information. This has been criticized by United Nations human rights bodies as well as many international and regional human rights commissions and organizations. In an effort to address these challenges the National Human Rights Committee of the State of Qatar in cooperation with the International Federation for the Protection of Journalists and the International Press Institute are pleased to invite you to an international conference on “Freedom of Expression: Facing Up to the Threat " in Doha from 24 to 25 July 2017. The Conference will discuss how to: • Address the enforcement of international human rights law, instruments and procedures with regards to freedom of opinion and expression and access to information; • Address the problems and challenges to international human rights law in connection with modern communication technology; • Protect and support journalists and promote pluralistic, independent and free media; • Enhance the protection of journalists in hostile zones and conflict areas and end impunity for crimes against journalists; • Raise up to ethical challenges, in particular threats posed by the resurgence of racism as well as cultural and religious conflicts, and rekindle a positive ethic for the profession.

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