Freedom of Expression Conference FreeXP.con
Freedom of Expression Conference, FreeXP.con organized by the Human Rights Online Philippines https://hronlineph.com/ will highlight the situation of freedom of expression (FoE) in the Philippines, which continues to be under threat with impunity. From human rights defenders, media and journalists, bloggers and individuals who are critical of the government are subjected to rampant and highly coordinated “trolling”, online abuse and smear campaign, in order to seed disinformation and foment targeted attacks, which undermines enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression, and democracy in the Philippines. This onslaught of online abuse represents a real threat to the freedom of expression both online and offline, psychological and even the physical safety of human rights defenders, journalists and individuals critical of the government.
Free XP.con will explore some of these trends with human rights defenders, legal experts, journalists and victims of reported online abuse in the Philippines. The conference will provide venue for sharing of experiences and responses to the online threats and disinformation, and generating evidence-based concrete platform of actions in defending the FoE against the culture of impunity and a system set-up to silence dissent in the country.
Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH) is an organization that works for the protection and defense of human rights defenders’ right to freedom of expression online. HRonlinePH provides practical support through physical and digital security training, advocacy and campaigning.
Free XP.con including 7th Human Rights Pinduteros is a milestone of the HRonlinePH project, “Protection and empowerment of human rights defenders in the Philippines” with support of the British Embassy Manila under its British Embassy Programme Fund.
Based on the documentation and reports received by the HRonlinePH, the conference seeks to examine the promotion and protection of the FoE online in the context of national scope and international norms with a view of identifying challenges and sharing best practices, and inspiring initiatives taken by human rights defenders and journalists among others on protection and defense of FoE in the Philippines. The results will also provide tracking of progress under the Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 on “public access to information and fundamental freedom” and compliance of the Philippine government to Article 19, freedom of expression, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
- Free XP.con aims to achieve the following objectives:
- To provide comparative opportunities for human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers among others to learn from wider experiences to adopt good practices and solutions in support of FoE and improved online safety and security;
- To generate measures for strengthening inclusion of human rights within the online platforms as well as its content creating greater spaces to promote FoE and reflect human rights norms; and
- To identify and encourage the key stakeholders including the government to reflect upon need of reforms and implementation of policies and practices in support of protection of FoE in the Philippines.
Date: 1-2 December 2017 (Friday-Saturday)
Opening of the commemoration of the International Human Rights Week
Venue: in Quezon City (exact venue to be announced)
The event will bring together human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, faith-based workers, human rights campaigners, experts from other fields and individuals working on the promotion of the FoE and those who are affected by the online abuse and “trolling”.
[The Chatam House Rule https://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule
This consideration should always guide the way in which the conference information is disseminated – online as well as offline.]
The sequence of learning sessions during the conference will be as follows:
- The protection and defense of FoE in the Philippines.
- Human rights defenders’ freedom of expression: facing up to the threat
- Online attacks and trolling on the Commission on Human Rights
- Regional situation of FoE
- Communicating human rights
- Strengthening digital security in response to online harassment and threats
*At the end of the plenary discussions, panelists will be given three minutes each to make their concluding remarks, followed by final remarks of the moderator. Followed by Q and A.
- Parallel workshops that would identify common challenges, share good practices and solutions
- Fighting back against online abuse through human rights education
- “Security in a box”
- Human rights protection mechanisms in countering online abuse and harassment
Summing up sessions
At the end of the workshops, all participants will convene in a plenary session to summarize the results of thematic workshops; designated rapporteurs from each group will briefly summarize the results and recommendations.
The expected outcomes of the conference are:
- Stakeholders will gain a better understanding of the challenges linked to the protection and promotion of the freedom of expression both online and offline in the context of national scope;
- Organizer will prepare a summary report on the outcome of the panel discussion, which will be submitted to the government, Commission on Human Rights, members of diplomatic community, international human rights organizations and UN Special Procedures including platforms like Facebook;
- Proposed Declaration on Freedom of Expression or Plan of Action on the Freedom of Expression and the Issue of Impunity;
- Protection measures for human rights defenders, journalists and individuals in claiming their right to freedom of expression;
- Sense of solidarity among human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers among others to fight the culture of impunity.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders)