International Dialogue “Freedom of Expression and the Judiciary”
In the end of 2013, a partnership between the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF), the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression, the Organization of American States (OAS) and UNESCO was established to promote a deep discussion on the role of the Brazilian Judiciary in guaranteeing freedom of expression. The International Dialogue “Freedom of Expression and the Judiciary”, which is one of the activities of this partnership, will take place on 7 and 8 April 2014 at the Court of the State of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. This event is aimed at judges, journalists, and students of law and journalism.
The entrance is free, but confirmation is necessary. Registrations should be made through the website: http://www.unesco.org.uy/tests/formularios/libertaddeexpresion.html
The event intends to discuss the different aspects of freedom of expression. The themes to be discussed in the round tables will be on violence against journalists, the obligation to protect and to investigate crimes, access to information, Internet and the Judiciary, and Criminal Law and Freedom of Expression.
According to the President of STF, Minister Joaquim Barbosa, “freedom of expression and press freedom are fundamental rights for building a democratic society. A free press, open to the dissemination of plural ideas and opinions on issues of public interest, is the best antidote to the excesses of power and arbitrariness. Besides, it definitely contributes to the possibility of individuals to freely build their own convictions on themes of their particular interest and of their communities.”
For UNESCO in Brazil, the Judiciary is essential for the defence and consolidation of freedom of expression in the country. This is a theme that involves various actors of the government, of the media and of the civil society. The discussion on various aspects of freedom of expression is of extreme importance to all democracies.
The intention of the partnership between STF and international organizations is to promote a deep discussion on freedom of expression and to offer to the Brazilian judges real open spaces to debate issues related to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, information, and press freedom as these subjects are addressed internationally.
Within the initiative, particular attention is given to security of journalists and the struggle against impunity, recognizing the centrality of the Judiciary on facing these urgent and real challenges. In addition to the international dialogues, the partnership may also produce online courses in Brazil to magistrates and judges interested in deepening their knowledge on the issue of freedom of expression.