Obligation

Freedom of Opinion and Expression

International and regional treaties protect freedom of opinion and expression.[1] Free communication of information and ideas by voters and candidates is essential to genuine elections.[2] It includes the right for everyone, including political parties, candidates, and their supporters, to seek, receive, and impart ideas through any means of their choice, including but not limited to writing, speech, print, art, or the Internet. Freedom of expression also protects the right to communicate freely with international bodies.[3]

Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society.[4] Such restrictions include those that:

  • Are in the interests of national security;[5]
  • Protect territorial integrity;[6]
  • Are in the interests of public safety;[7]
  • Maintain the authority and impartiality of the judiciary;[8]
  • Prevent disclosure of information received in confidence.[9]

Freedom of expression may be restricted when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.[10] Any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence should be prohibited by law.[11] Regional treaties offer specific guidance regarding limitations to ensure that free communication and circulation of ideas may not be restricted by indirect means such as abuse of regulatory controls over the media.[12] Interpretive sources state that restrictions on the Internet or other information dissemination systems are permissible only to the extent they seek to protect rights. Sites may not be blocked simply because they are critical of the government.[13]

Relevant Election Parts

Issues



Pluralistic and Balanced Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Space in the media existed for political debate

  • During the electoral process there should be sufficient media space to allow for open questioning and debate between political leaders and candidates. [?]

Regulation of Campaign Contributions

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

The state regulated foreign funding of candidates and parties but did not limit contributions by nationals living abroad

  • States should regulate funding by foreign donors, but should not limit contributions by nationals living abroad. [?]

There were clear rules and regulations regarding the acceptable sources of financial donations

  • Measures taken by states to govern donations to parties should include rules to avoid conflicts of interest. [?]
  • Measures taken by states to govern donations to parties should include rules to ensure the independence of the party. [?]
  • Rules concerning donations to political parties should apply, as appropriate, to other entities associated with political parties. [?]
  • Measures taken by states to govern donations to parties should include rules to avoid prejudice to the activities of the party. [?]
  • States should regulate contributions by legal entities. [?]
  • Measures taken by states to govern donations to parties should include rules to ensure transparency of donations. [?]
  • Public laws should prohibit only those forms of fundraising that have no connection to the party's raison d'etre. [?]

Candidates could contribute to their own campaigns, subject to reasonable limitations

  • Within reasonable limitations, candidates should be able to contribute to their own campaigns. [?]

Reasonable limitations were imposed on private contributions

  • States should consider introducing rules which define acceptable sources of donations to political parties and/or candidates. [?]
  • Reasonable limitations may be placed on private funding contributions to level the playing field during campaign activities. [?]
  • Limits on private contributions may consist of a limit on the total sum of acceptable private donations. [?]
  • Low value donations may be excluded from the obligation to refuse anonymous donations. [?]
  • Political parties and candidates should be partly financed through private means. [?]
  • States should consider limiting or prohibiting donations from anonymous sources. [?]
  • Limits on private contributions may consist of a maximum threshold on the amount of money that may be accepted from a single source. [?]
  • Cash donations should be prohibited. [?]

Independence of the Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Editorial independence was protected, and the government did not abuse resources or influence to exert control over media content

  • Editorial independence should be protected and free from political or economic interference. [?]
  • States should take steps to ensure a free and independent media. [?]
  • Government officials should not abuse their legal resources or custody over public finance to exert control over media content. [?]

The media was able to express criticisms of the government

  • The media should not be prevented from expressing criticisms of the government. [?]

The media was not held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others

  • Media should not be held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others. [?]

There were no restrictions on people who may practice journalism by the state, though journalists may have regulated themselves

  • Restrictions on who may practice journalism are unlawful. [?]

Freedom of Expression and the Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues took place between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives

  • Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives is necessary. [?]

Freedom of opinion and expression by the media was respected throughout the electoral process. In addition, the media respected the freedom of opinion and expression of others

  • The right to freedom of expression applies to all forms of media, including the internet. [?]
  • The communication and circulation of ideas may not be restricted by any indirect means, such as abuse of government or private control over the media. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, whether through public speeches or other means. [?]
  • Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives is necessary. [?]
  • Freedom of expression includes unhindered communication with international bodies on matters of human rights. [?]
  • Freedom of expression should not be limited by the imposition of prior censorship. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]

Freedom on Opinion and Expression for Political Candidates and Their Supporters

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Political parties were able to communicate their opinions to the electorate

  • Free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates, and elected representatives is necessary. [?]
  • Parties and candidates must be able to communicate their opinions to the electorate. [?]

Freedom of opinion and expression was protected throughout the campaign process

  • Political parties and candidates must be granted, on an equal basis, the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds orally, in writing, in print, through art, or through any other form of media. [?]
  • The communication and circulation of ideas may not be restricted by any indirect means, such as abuse of government or private control over the media. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Parties and candidates must be able to communicate their opinions to the electorate. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, whether through public speeches or other means. [?]
  • Freedom of expression includes unhindered communication with international bodies on matters of human rights. [?]

Campaign Silence Period

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning
  • The Media

If a campaign silence period was imposed, it was reasonable in length

  • A silent period may be instituted immediately in advance of polling day, allowing voters to exercise their franchise freely and without undue pressure. [?]

If there was a campaign silence period, it was of reasonable duration

  • A silent period may be instituted immediately in advance of polling day, allowing voters to exercise their franchise freely and without undue pressure. [?]

Hate Speech and Incitement to Violence

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence was prohibited by law, and the law was enforced

  • Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence should be prohibited by law. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • A silent period may be instituted immediately in advance of polling day, allowing voters to exercise their franchise freely and without undue pressure. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]

Private Funding for Campaigns

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

The system for regulating private financial contributions ensured equality of freedom to raise private funds

  • Where private funding contributions are allowed, the system should be designed to ensure equality of freedom to raise private funds. [?]

Defamation

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Remedies for defamation were proportionate and not excessively punitive

  • There should be a range of remedies available in the case of defamation, respecting the requirement that all remedies be proportional. [?]

Claims of defamation were not used to suppress freedom of expression or to stifle the media or public debate and were not used to silence criticism of the government or its institutions

  • When considering claims of defamation, political figures and public officials should be subject to greater public scrutiny and criticism than other citizens. [?]
  • Defamation laws should only be used to protect individuals, never to prevent criticism of the government or institutions. [?]
  • The expression of an opinion or of a true statement may never constitute a valid claim of defamation. [?]

Private Media Regulations

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Private media, while not subject to the same regulation as public media, was generally fair and balanced in their coverage of the candidates and provided an equal opportunity for access to all candidates

  • Privately-held media should not necessarily be held to the same standards as public media. [?]
  • Private media may be subject to some restrictions, such as equal access for all candidates and fair coverage. [?]

Voter Education and Debates

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

The media aired debates between candidates and provided voter education

  • During the electoral process there should be sufficient media space to allow for open questioning and debate between political leaders and candidates. [?]
  • The legal framework may require media to provide voter education and air debates between candidates. [?]
  • Parties and candidates must be able to communicate their opinions to the electorate. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society. [?]

Opinion Polls

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

The release of opinion polls was subject only to reasonable restrictions

  • Publication of opinion polls may be restricted until polling is complete. [?]

Advocacy of Hatred and Incitement to Violence

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

Advocacy of national, racial, and religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence was prohibited by law, and the law was enforced

  • Advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence should be prohibited by law. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Freedom of expression may only be restricted in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]

Sources

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