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Enroll in free online course in Portuguese 'The International Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression'

Registration is open for a new free online course in Portuguese that will teach you how the international legal framework for freedom of expression, access to information and protection of journalists works, with an emphasis on its impact in Brazil. For this course, the certificate of completion will also be free.

Journalists, lawyers, judges and other judicial operators are invited to register for this massive open online course (MOOC) taught by André Gustavo Corrêa de Andrade, a renowned Brazilian expert in freedom of expression.

“The International Framework of Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Protection of Journalists” runs from Sept. 11 to Oct. 8, 2023. Find course information, including a syllabus and detailed registration instructions, at JournalismCourses.org.

Curso "O Marco Jurídico Internacional da Liberdade de Expressão"

The course is organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas thanks to the support of UNESCO. The course is part of a global UNESCO program on the international legal framework for freedom of expression that has already trained thousands of judges, lawyers, prosecutors and journalists around the world.

“Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of democracy. It ensures that citizens make themselves heard by those in charge, taking their pleas, claims and nonconformities to those in power. It, along with freedom of the press, is necessary for scrutiny of acts of the government and its agents,” said Andrade, a judge of a superior court (“desembargador”) in Rio de Janeiro, where he teaches Constitutional Law in graduate programs.

“Furthermore, the free flow of ideas and opinions is a condition for discovering the truth, advancing knowledge and social progress, teaching us to live with plurality and diversity,” he continued. “In addition to its instrumental importance, freedom of expression is an asset or essential attribute for the individual, because it allows each person to develop their personality as fully as possible, exploring their capabilities and potential in the various aspects of their lives.”

The MOOC is made of four modules.

  • Module 1 introduces international human rights law and systems for its implementation in the Brazilian context. We’ll look at freedom of expression in the Inter-American Human Rights System.
  • Module 2 considers press freedom and access to information, including source confidentiality, right of reply and more.
  • Module 3 looks at issues of freedom of expression addressed by the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court, including hate speech, desacato, incitement to commit a crime and unauthorized biographies.
  • Module 4 reviews new challenges to freedom of expression brought about by the internet and social media. The instructor will discuss content moderation on social networks, with a special focus on disinformation.

“Through this course, journalists will have the opportunity to learn about the content and scope of the right to information, which includes other rights: to inform, to inform themselves and to be informed,” instructor Andrade said. “They will learn how these rights are legally guaranteed, what their limits are and in which cases press professionals can be held legally responsible. In addition, they will become aware of national and international decisions on cases involving freedoms of expression and of the press.”

Students will learn the international legal framework for freedom of expression in the universal human rights system of the United Nations (UN) and the Inter-American human rights system of the Organization of American States (OAS), and how this legal framework interacts with domestic law.

Guilherme Canela, head of UNESCO’s Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists section, said this course, which is being taught in Portuguese, is an excellent “birthday present” as the UNESCO Judges Initiative on International Standards on Freedom of Expression, Access to Public Information and Safety of Journalists is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The initiative launched a decade ago in Brazil as a seminar on comparative international jurisprudence regarding freedom of expression, Canela pointed out. Minister Joaquim Barbosa, then-president of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court, led it and “outlined the initial contours of contents that have already reached more than 30,000 judicial operators from 160 countries,” Canela explained.

“At a time when the challenges for the protection of freedom of expression are enormous, having this course specially designed for Brazilian judicial operators results in important continuity of this global UNESCO program,” he added.

The MOOC is asynchronous, meaning students can complete the course on the days and at the times that best suit their schedules. However, there are recommended deadlines so students don’t fall behind during the four weeks of the training program.

The weekly modules contain video lectures, readings, discussion forums and quizzes. Those who successfully complete all course requirements are eligible to receive a FREE certificate of completion. No formal academic credit is associated with the certificate.

Instructor André Andrade has his JD from Universidade Estácio de Sá (UNESA) and is a professor in the graduate program in law at UNESA. He is President of the Permanent Forum on Freedom of Expression, Fundamental Freedoms and Democracy at EMERJ (School of Judiciary of the State of Rio de Janeiro). He is coordinator of the EMERJ Center for Research on Freedom of Expression and the Press and Social Media. He is an appellate judge of the TJRJ (Court of Rio de Janeiro).

Register now to join him and thousands of others interested in the legal framework for freedom of expression. Sign up today!