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International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression is a Course

International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression

Ended Dec 18, 2017

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Full course description

Course Date:

Nov 13 - Dec 18, 2017


5 weeks


7+ hrs/week



Course Type:



Certificate (free)


This course provides an overview of the international and African legal framework and mechanisms for promotion and protection of freedom of expression, access to information, safety of journalists and related issues.

The following modules are covered:

Module 1: General introduction to the international and regional framework on freedom of expression
Module 2: Legitimate restrictions on the right to freedom of expression
Module 3: The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity
Module 4: The right of access to information in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and
Module 5: New challenges to freedom of expression and the internet


On completion of the course, participants should understand the following:

  • Fundamental principles of human rights specifically, the right to freedom of expression;
  • Legitimate restrictions to freedom of expression;
  • The legal framework on the safety of journalists;
  • Access to information and its role in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • Contemporary challenges to freedom of expression in the digital age.

Target Audience: The course is designed for judicial officers in Africa, including judges and prosecutors and may also be of interest to lawyers, the media and free expression advocates

Course is offered by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Course Instructors

Prof Frans Viljoen

Prof Frans Viljoen


Prof Frans Viljoen is a professor of international human rights law and Director of the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. Read More.

His research area is international human rights law, with a focus on the African regional human rights system. He has been involved in advocacy and training on the African human rights system, and published widely on international human rights law. He is editor-in- chief of the African Human Rights Law Journal and co-editor of the African Human Rights Law Reports.

Ms Pansy Tlakula

Ms Pansy Tlakula


Ms Pansy Tlakula is the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and since 2005, its Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. Read More.

She has led several continental initiatives including the development of the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa. She is the chair of the Information Regulator of South Africa and was previously Chairperson, Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa and member, South African Human Rights Commission.

Mr Frank La Rue

Mr Frank La Rue


Mr Frank La Rue is Assistant Director-General Communication and Information at UNESCO. He was a member of the cabinet in Guatemala as Presidential Secretary for Human Rights. Read More.

He was the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression at the United Nations and founder/Director of the Center for Human Rights Legal Action(CALDH). He has has been involved in the promotion of human rights, in particular in freedom of expression, for over 25 years.

Ben Kioko

Justice Ben Kioko


Justice Ben Kioko is currently the vice-president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Read More.

Previously, he served in various capacities in the legal service of the African Union Commission (AUC), including as Legal Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs for 11 years. During this period, he played a key role in the conceptualisation, drafting and negotiation of over 26 treaties. He is a member of the editorial board of several international law journals and recipient of two national awards in Kenya.