In 2014, MLDI began developing a media law training curriculum (rolled out in 2015) covering national, international and comparative media and freedom of expression law. These resources were created to ensure that media lawyers are able to litigate free speech cases effectively before national courts as well as international courts and tribunals.
We achieved a major success in our strategic litigation programme at the end of 2014 in the case of Burkinabé journalist Lohé Issa Konaté. The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights upheld our arguments that no journalist should ever face prison for defamation. It also ruled that criminal defamation laws should only be used in restricted circumstances, and ordered Burkina Faso to change its criminal defamation laws. Read more about the case.
In 2014, we first intervened at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Granier v. Venezuela concerning broadcasting license restrictions on Venezuelan broadcasters Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV). The Inter-American Court of Human Rights determined, in 2015, that the government of Venezuela had denied RCTV’s license because they were critical of the government. The Court concluded that the state’s action contravened Article 13 of the American Convention of Human Rights that guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
MLDI also developed a law clinic with Oxford University and Zagreb University enabling law students to be involved in filing applications to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The clinic worked on cases concerning detained journalists and activists in Viet Nam and Myanmar. The clinic now runs with students from Edinburgh University law school as well.