Bonavero Institute-UNESCO MOOC on Freedom of Expression


The Bonavero Institute and UNESCO are delighted to announce a joint MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on international standards of freedom of expression. The MOOC will cover regional and international human rights law safeguards for freedom of expression, including press freedom, access to public information, safety of journalists and challenges created by the digital world. The course is free and open to legal professionals from all justice systems with an interest in human rights.

An exceptional opportunity to deepen your knowledge: The five weekly Modules are convened by academics and supplemented by the insights and experiences of prominent guest speakers. Every module introduces and discusses a pertinent topic with respect to the international and regional protection of freedom of expression:  each features accessible background material, comprehension quizzes, and a forum for further discussion on our EdX - Edge platform, as well as a live Webinar (recordings will be provided for those who cannot attend). Participants who complete the course will be issued with a certificate. The language of instruction is English, with further language versions planned for the future.

Confirmed Guest Speakers: Judge Stella I. Anukam (African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights, Nigeria) Catalina Botero Marino (Universidad de Los Andes, Facebook Oversight Board), Nani Jansen Reventlow (Digital Freedom Fund), Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (UK House of Lords, Doughty Street Chambers), Irene Khan (Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression), Jeanette Manning (Director National Association of Attorneys General), Karuna Nundy (Lawyer at the Supreme Court of India), Judge Darian Pavli (European Court of Human Rights, Albania), Judge Ricardo Perez Manrique (Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Uruguay).

Update: Registration has now closed and the course has been archived. The Institute would like to thank all guest speakers, convenors and participants and looks forward to hosting future iterations. Keep an eye on our website for more infomation in due course.

Outline: One weekly module will be released on EdX - Edge starting 10 May 2021, and participants will have the flexibility to complete the course anytime before 30 June 2021. We estimate the time committment to complete the course at under 2 hours per week, so it is suitable for anyone in full-time employment.

Module 1: General principles and Scope (Webinar convened by Prof Sandra Fredman QC (hon), Faculty of Law)

Sets out the terminology and international legal framework underpinning the right to freedom of expression, provides an overview of general scope of the right in the doctrine of important regional protection regimes.

Module 2: Limitations (Webinar convened by Prof Nazila Ghanea, Faculty of Law)

Explores when different infringements (prior restraints, subsequent sanctions) of freedom of expression may be justified and how international and regional courts balance competing rights and interests.

Module 3: Access to information (Webinar convened by Prof Liz Fisher, Faculty of Law)

Explains the legal protection of the right to access to information: its scope, typical infringements and when these are justified in the examined protection regimes.

Module 4: Safety of Journalists (Webinar convened by Meera Selva, Deputy Director of the Reuters Institute)

Examines the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, highlighting the physical risks that many journalists face, including the specific threats faced by women journalists

Module 5: Digitalisation (Webinar convened by Prof Kate O’Regan, Director of the Bonavero Institute & Dr Stefan Theil, Faculty of Law)

Explores contemporary challenges to freedom of expression and information that arise through state and private regulation online, and how existing legal frameworks can adapt.


*Please note that the information above is not final and merely indicative of our current planning. It is subject to revisions, especially as further guest speakers and convenors are confirmed*