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ICJ Kenya's relationship with the Vance Center has enabled it to access, free of charge, cutting-edge research support that has been crucial in building a case for ICJ Kenya's advocacy positions.

George Kegoro, Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists


The Free Expression, Media, and Information Program secures the rights of individuals and NGOs to participate freely and knowingly in public discourse. The program responds to threats to freedom of expression, media freedom, and access to information around the world, from the passage of laws that impose onerous requirements and restrictions on media houses and journalists; to governmental actions such as the bringing of defamation actions against journalists and media companies and the confiscation of media property; to the use of overly vague or broad notions of national security to block access to public information.

We combat those threats by collaborating with leading law firms and other partners worldwide to provide pro bono legal services to international and regional NGOs working to advance freedom of expression, media, and information. These services take several forms: for example, representing NGOs as amici curiae in proceedings before national, regional, and international bodies; identifying "best practices" across a range of countries in a particular area of law or policy; conducting research to help a client develop an advocacy position; and evaluating compliance by countries with their international obligations. Examples of our work include:

Advising an NGO in Latin America on ways to increase the effectiveness of its campaign against a national law that restricts freedom of the media;

Drafting a proposal for a freedom-of-information treaty that meets regional and international standards, for presentation by civil society to a regional parliament;

Evaluating national access-to-information laws and bills in several countries against applicable international and regional standards, to help NGOs advocate for stronger laws in this area;

Analyzing country-by-country compliance with obligations under a regional transparency treaty;

Representing amicus curiae in free expression, media, and information cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court on Human Rights;

Advising a regional NGO supporting the media sector on media regulation in selected countries, the legal issues posed by digital media, and development of a code of conduct for media owners.

Our clients have included:

Espacio Público (Venezuela)

Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (Chile)

Africa Freedom of Information Centre

African Media Initiative

Transparency International

Open Society Justice Initiative

The Communications and Media Law Committee of the New York City Bar