Karol Jakubowicz, in a bold and provocative new manifesto drawing on his long experience in European policy-making, proposed earlier this year that the spread of new media technology has created an unprecedented opportunity to move beyond “freedom of expression” by formalising a “right to public expression”.
His manifesto challenges habitual thinking on how communications technology affects media-related rights. We asked several experts to respond…
Helen Darbishire sees Jakubowicz’s argument as an attempt to resuscitate old demands for recognition of a right to communicate. She concludes that “the material he assembles makes a rather compelling case against a new right and in favour of bolstering and maintaining the flexibility of the existing right to freedom of expression.” Freedom of Expression: a flexible and open right (PDF)
Toby Mendel praises the “useful policy and practical ideas about what can be done to build opportunities for public expression in modern societies.” Nevertheless, he concludes, “the right to freedom of expression accommodates all of the rights ideas implicit in the ‘right to public expression’ as described; indeed, it does so easily and without controversial extension.” Useful Insights and Dubious Propositions: a response to KAROL JAKUBOWICZ’S call for a Right to Public Expression (PDF)
After welcoming Jakubowicz’s “call for a fundamental and comprehensive debate on freedom of expression”, Damian Tambini floats a bold proposal of his own: “a more practical intervention to address the problems he raises may well be to advocate the adoption of a Framework Convention on Freedom of Expression, clarifying key principles and the responsibilities of States”. A Framework Convention on Freedom of Expression? a response to KAROL JAKUBOWICZ’S call for a Right to Public Expression (PDF)
Morris Lipson agrees that freedom of expression provides a basis for arguing a basic right of access to the internet. However, he calls on Jakubowicz to clarify just what he means by RPE. For, according to Lipson, he has not yet given a compelling reason why RPE should be recognised as a separate right. Do we really need this new right: a response to KAROL JAKUBOWICZ’S call for a Right to Public Expression (PDF)