The International Press Institute (IPI), a Vienna-based global network of editors, media executives and journalists, has launched a database that catalogues legal provisions affecting freedom of the press and expression
in European countries and some Caribbean nations as part of its initial rollout:
"IPI Director of Press Freedom Programmes Scott Griffen said the
database aimed in part to expose the failure of states, including a
majority in Europe, to incorporate international standards on freedom of
expression in law."
" 'The past years and decades have seen the development, on the part of
international human rights bodies and courts, of clear and important
standards when it comes to respecting freedom of expression. But our
research shows that governments, including in Europe, which is generally
considered to be a safe haven for free expression, have largely failed
to adopt these standards in legislation,' Griffen said."
"He continued: 'In practice, this means that laws that
disproportionately restrict freedom of expression, such as criminal
defamation laws, not only still exist, but are also still applied
against journalists and others. In the case of Europe, it also makes
pushing for change in countries elsewhere more challenging. This
database, in offering a clear and consolidated source on legislation in
effect on a country-by-country basis, seeks to raise awareness about the
gap between international standards and the reality on the ground and
thereby energise the advocacy needed to close that gap'."
The IPI will eventually expand the geographic and thematic coverage of the database. Right now, the database includes information about national laws dealing with topics ranging from blasphemy to insults to the head of state and defamation of the deceased.
[Source: Library Journal's INFOdocket
Labels: comparative and foreign law, databases, human rights, journalism