ABSTRACT OF THE SESSION
International Press Institute (IPI) Senior Press Freedom Adviser Steven M. Ellis will present information related to the IPI’s current project “Strengthening Journalists’ Rights, Protections and Skills: Understanding Defamation Laws versus Press Freedom”. The project seeks to examine the effects that defamation, insult and blasphemy laws in the 28 EU member countries and five candidate countries have on the practices of journalism and the exercise of press freedom.
IPI will soon be issuing a study detailing defamation law in EU member and candidate states, examining the extent to which these laws comport with international standards and offering recommendations for potential changes. Ellis will explain to participants the purpose, history and methodology behind the forthcoming study and share details regarding planned follow-up workshops and trainings. Using specific examples from relevant countries, Ellis will also detail potential pitfalls that journalists face under national criminal and civil laws on defamation, insult and blasphemy. Participants will be given examples of types of conduct that may lead to liability, potential defences to liability, potential consequences that a finding of civil or criminal liability may carry and examples of recent legal developments. Finally, he will provide a broad overview of relevant international free expression standards in order to foster awareness among journalists of their rights in cases where national laws have not yet caught up to those standards.