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STF, UN and OAS sign agreement to discuss freedom of expression


Friday, 13 December 2013

The President of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa, received this Friday (13) the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for the Inter-American System of Human Rights, Catalina Botero, and the regional advisor of Communication and Information from Unesco, Guilherme Canela. The purpose was to detail the implementation of a joint action related to the protection of freedom of expression, of press and of information within the Brazilian Judiciary Power.

This week, the STF, the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) signed an unprecedented agreement to promote, as of 2014, a thorough discussion on the freedom of expression in the Judiciary theme. Among the scheduled activities are the realization of an International Dialogue on these matters and the offer of online courses for magistrates.

According to the rapporteur, the cooperation with the STF, which began with Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa’s participation during the World Press Freedom Day, celebrated last May in Costa Rica, will strengthen the debate on international standards and could be an incentive so that other country’s courts adopt similar strategies. In her opinion, this is one of the most important agreements ever made by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for the Inter-American System of Human Rights. “The judges have an essential role in the defense of freedom of expression,” she affirmed. “Wherever there are independent judges, who believe in freedom, freedom of expression is protected, and the Supreme Court knows that well.”

Catalina Botero considers as fundamental the training of magistrates and the discussion over the mentioned issue so that the judges may be prepared to solve cases related to freedom of expression according to the most advanced international parameters.

Canela highlighted that what is being done is to converge agendas that already were present in the institutions and think how the Brazilian magistrates, jointly with the international system, may contribute to advance this discussion. “All these institutions work in a very present manner with the freedom of expression theme. Let us strengthen actions that were being done in an isolated form,” he affirmed.

According to the UN, the initiative was inspired by the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The Plan aims to strengthen the contribution from all social sectors to end journalists’ assassinations and intimidations carried out against these professionals.

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