World Press Freedom Day: Joint Declaration highlights tension between free speech and counter-extremism

On World Press Freedom Day, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, highlighted the danger of using counter-extremism efforts to undermine free speech. ‘By ‘balancing’ freedom of expression and the prevention of violence, the programmes and initiatives aimed at countering ‘violent extremism’ have – often purposely, sometimes inadvertently – put at risk or curtailed the independence of media,’ he said. He added that efforts to counter extremism ‘must be based on a legal framework and on evidence of their effectiveness and their necessity and proportionality to achieve legitimate objectives.’ The Rapporteur’s statements are reaffirmed by the Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and countering violent extremism, signed by representatives of the UN, the OSCE, the OAS and the ACHPR.