Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Please, read the general remarks about the special procedures first.
Rights and Intended Situations
The Special Rapporteur wishes to receive particularly information on problems and violations in the following fields:
- The detention, discrimination, threat or application of violence, harassment, in particular the prosecution or intimidation of persons trying to make use of their right to freedom of opinion and expression, comprising journalists and other professionals;
- Activities of political opposition parties and trade union activists, whether a group or an individual;
- Actions against the media (publication and transmission of radio and television) or impediment to their independent operation;
- Actions against editors and performers in other media, in particular books, journals, the cinema or theatre and graphic art;
- Activities of human rights defenders (lawyers, community activists);
- Women’s rights conflicting with laws and practice which impede women from expressing their opinion, making themselves heard, participating in the decision-making process, having an equal position before the law as well as researching and receiving information on questions which are of particular interest for them like family planning and violence against women;
- Obstacles impairing the access on the local, regional and national level to information on governmental projects and initiatives aimed at promoting the right to development, obstacles to participation in the decision-making process and to the access to information on other subjects like studies on the effect on the environment and health, national budget, social spending, industrial development projects and fiscal policy.
Implementation of the Procedure
Upon receipt of prima facie credible and reliable information, the Special Rapporteur transmits the information to the government concerned and requests it to provide him with comments and observations. Once he received the responses of the Government concerned, the Special Rapporteur determines whether the given information present in a satisfactory manner the facts, applicable laws and rules, and the reasons of the states action or omission which is the subject of a complaint giving notice of a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In order to be able to take action regarding a communication on a case or incident, the following information, as a minimum, must be received by the Special Rapporteur:
1. Allegation regarding a person or persons:
- As detailed as possible a description of the alleged violation, including date, location and circumstances of the event;
- Name, age, gender, ethnic background (if relevant), profession;
- Views, affiliations, past or present participation in political, social, ethnic or labor group/activity;
- Information on other specific activities relating to the alleged violation.
2. Allegation regarding a medium of communication:
- As detailed as possible a description of the alleged infringement on the right, including date, location and circumstances of the event;
- The nature of the medium affected (for instance, newspapers, independent radio); including circulation and frequency of publication or broadcasting, public performances, etc.;
- Political orientation of the medium (if relevant).
3. Information regarding the alleged perpetrators:
- Name, State affiliation (for instance, military, police) and reasons why they are considered responsible;
- For non-state actors, description of how they relate to the State (for instance, cooperation with or support by State security forces);
- If applicable, State encouragement or tolerance of activities of non-State actors, whether groups or individuals, including threats or use of violence and harassment against individuals exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information.
4. Information related to State actions:
- If the incident involves restrictions on a medium (for instance, censorship, closure of a news organ, banning of a book, etc.); the identity of the authority involved (individual and/or ministry and/or department), the legal statute invoked, and steps taken to seek domestic remedy;
- If the incident involves arrest of an individual or individuals, the identity of the authority involved (individual and/or ministry and/or department), the legal statute invoked, location of detention if known, information on provision of access to legal counsel and family members, steps taken to seek domestic remedy or clarification of person’s situation and status;
- If applicable, information on whether or not an investigation has taken place and, if so, by what ministry or department of the government and the status of the investigation at the time of submission of the allegation, including whether or not the investigation has resulted in indictments.
5. Information on the source of the communications:
- Name and full address;
- Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address (if possible);
- Name, address, phone/fax numbers and email address (if applicable) of person or organization submitting the allegation.
When requested or considered necessary by the Special Rapporteur, information on the source of the allegations will be treated as confidential.
The Special Rapporteur has also adopted an urgent procedure for cases of threat to life and other situations requiring an urgent intervention.
Any information falling within this description of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur should be sent to: