International media law standards fuel the Asia Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition in Beijing

The 2014-2015 Asia Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition were held in Beijing from 24 to 25 November 2014, increasing awareness on international media law standards and freedom of expression among more than hundred Asian law students and jurists.

The Moot Court Competition, a simulated court hearing used for pedagogical and research purposes, was co-organized by the Beijing-based Renmin University School of Law, its Asia-Pacific Institute of Law and Civil Law, and its Commercial Law Legal Science Research Center, in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Programme for Comparative Media and Law Policy (PCMLP), and with the support of the UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Eleven teams from the top law schools in China and one team from the Philippines argued over a complex simulated case dealing with issues concerning freedom of expression in the cyberspace, online content regulation, social media and Internet Service Provider ISP’s responsibility.

Applying comparative and international legal standards, the participants showed impressive argumentative skills to a moot bench composed by top jurists and law practitioners from three continents, including Professor Monroe E. Price, Director of the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania; Mr Xiongshan Cai, Senior Legal Manager of Tecent; Mr Mark Stephens, internationally renowned lawyer and Chair of the University of Oxford’s PCMLP; as well as Mr Willem F. Korthals Altes, Senior Judge in the Criminal Law Division of the District Court of Amsterdam.

After a two-day heated and fair competition on legal arguments, the University of the Philippines got the first award, and the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) of China the second post. The finalists, together with the semifinalists (the Shandong and Peking universities from China) will take part to the global Price Media Law Moot Court Competition to be held in April 2015 in Oxford, United Kingdom.

Mr Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan, a senior graduate from the winning team, credited the success to their great efforts and teamwork. “What I enjoyed the most about this event is the communication of so many different views of points on the issue,” he said. The runner-up team members from China said that the two-day competitions deepened their understanding about the case and of the underlining issues at stake.

Mr Andrea Cairola, Adviser for Communication and Information at UNESCO’s Beijing Office, congratulated all the participating teams, remarking that the Moot Court Programme is not just a simulation, because the legal principles the exercise has been dealing with are very much real and essential for the real world. The realization of these fundamental principles is the basis of the United Nations, and of a peaceful and just human coexistence.

Closing the competition, Professor Price said that it has been really moving to see such kind of institution-build around a set of ideas and a set of principles related to the rule of law. “The way the [legal] profession developed internationally has increased understanding between countries and peoples,” he added.

The Renmin Law School had applied to IPDC for support to the Moot Court Competition, and its project proposal was approved by the IPDC Bureau at its 58th meeting in March 2014. IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development.