Lawyers From Three Continents Gather to Study Media Freedom
Lawyers from Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America arrived at Oxford this week for the third annual Media Law Advocates Program. The three week course, organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Program in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University's Wolfson College, will coach the 35 media lawyers in the promotion and defense of media freedom.
Classes will cover defamation and libel—including pre-publication proofing, responding to threats of suit, and in-court defense techniques—as well as licensing and the internet. The legal and business aspects of media practice will also be treated, with sessions devoted to the European Union's Television without Frontiers Directive as well as national media regulation, hate speech, copyright, and public service broadcasting.
The lawyers will learn about the right of access to information and strategies for litigation using freedom of information acts. The course emphasizes the use of human rights arguments before national and international tribunals, in particular the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the Inter-American Commission and Court. In a moot court exercise, participants will put their human rights and media lawyering skills into practice, by arguing a case before a panel of faculty using the law and procedure of the European Court of Human Rights.
The Media Law Advocates Program is co-funded by the Council of Europe, the Guardian Foundation, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund, the Annenberg School for Communication, and Zed Publishers.