Rwanda | THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: BRAINSTORMING SESSION ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
James Vuningoma, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture/RALC, described such debates where people can express themselves, as a healing process. We couldn’t agree more. You’ve just got to be there this Thursday evening 31st January 2013 at Goethe Institute when, in the presence of NIRERE Madeleine, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Human Rights, a brainstorming session on freedom of expression takes place with journalists, political figures and the general public alike share their opinions on this crucial subject.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for general principles with regard to the freedom of expression, opinion and information. The Covenant guarantees, therefore, for everyone the right to hold opinions without interference and their freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds. The protection and the enforcement of the freedom of expression are fundamental proof of a state which respects the liberty and autonomy of its citizens.
However there are exceptions to the principle of tree speech including the protection of national security, public order, public morals and respect for the rights and reputations of others. Any limitation to the freedom of expression must respect the necessity and legality requirements as laid down in article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The following fundamental questions will be brought to focus:
- At which extent is the freedom of expression limited?
- What is the nature and the scope of limitations to the freedom of expression?
- How to conciliate the principle of free speech and its limitations as provided for by human rights instruments and domestic constitutions/law
- How to punish a speech that is based on hatred or a propaganda that would promote and incite hatred among people while at the same time ensuring that everyone has freedom of expression.