Tag Archives: FreeXP.con

Freedom of Expression Conference-FreeXP.con Highlights

Freedom of Expression Conference or FreeXP.con

Freedom of Expression Conference or FreeXP.con held last December 1 to 2, 2017 was organized by the Human Rights Online Philippines https://hronlineph.com/. The conference highlighted 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 explored some of these trends with human rights defenders, legal experts, journalists and victims of reported online abuse in the Philippines. The conference provided 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.

Free XP.con including 7th Human Rights Pinduteros Choice Awards 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.

Learning sessions

  • Why Freedom of Expression Matters? Challenges to online freedom of expression and media
  • Fake news, misinformation, responsible journalism and the Future of online media
  • Countering online harassment, abuse, trolling and hate speech
  • Strengthening Digital Security and Data Protection against Hacking, Data Interception and Online Surveillance
  • Digital Activism: Promoting Human Rights Online and Offline


  • Situation of human rights defenders and advocates for the right to freedom of expression (FoE) in the Philippines
  • Recommendations and proposals on identified key issues and challenges of FoE

Moving forward


Mr. Ed Lingao, Journalist / TV5

Atty. Gilbert Andres
Legal Specialist on Freedom of Expression
Association for Freedom of Expression Coalition-Southeast Asia

Ms. Lucille Sodipe, Journalist, Vera Files

Mr. Luis Gorgonio, Journalist, News Online Editor














Atty. Marlon Anthony Tonson, Internet freedom advocate
Co-convenor Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA)

Ms. Cecile Lero, Freedom of Expression Advocate

Ms. Lisa Garcia, Gender and ICT specialist
Executive Director, Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)

Mr. JC Olaivar, Digital Security Incident Expert, Access Now













Ms. Cha Roque, Digital Campaign Advocacy Expert, DAKILA

Mr. Marc Siapno
Division Chief for Public affairs and Strategic Communications Office, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

Freedom of Expression Conference Declaration

Freedom of Expression Conference Declaration

We, human rights defenders and civil society organizations (CSOs) working for the defense and protection of human rights, gathered in Quezon City, Philippines, during the Freedom of Expression Conference, FreeXP.con organized by the Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH) on 1-2 December 2017;

Reaffirming, that the right to freedom of expression is the most fundamental freedom and right in a democratic society, as enshrined in Article III, Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Philippines and international standards as follows:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • ILO Convention N° 135, Workers’ Representatives Convention
  • General Comment 10 [19] (Article 19) of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1 of 19 May 1989)
  • General Comment 11 [19] (Article 20) of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1 of 19 May 1989)
  • The public’s right to know: Principles on Freedom of Information Legislation. Annex II Report E/CN.4/2000/63

Recalling, the General Comment No. 34 of Human Rights Committee, which recognizes, “the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms.” Affirming that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online,”;

Recognizing, restrictions on freedom of expression may also be imposed, as long as they are consistent with the requirements noted in paragraph 1, “to prohibit advocacy of hatred on protected grounds that constitutes incitement to violence, discrimination or hostility” (in reference to Article 20 of the ICCPR;

Recognizing, threats to freedom of expression are more pronounced than ever such as the growing prevalence of disinformation (sometimes referred to as “false” or “fake news”) and propaganda in social media, fueled by both State and non-State actors;

Considering, alarming instances in which public authorities denigrate, intimidate and threaten the media, from outright government official statements that the media is “the opposition” or is “lying” and has a hidden political agenda, increasing the risks on our lives, with threats and violence against human rights defenders and critical public are heightened; and threat of outright misleading the public by blurring the lines between disinformation and media products containing independently verifiable facts;

Deploring, attempts by the government to suppress dissent through such measures as repressive rules regarding the restrictive laws on exercising right to freedom of expression e.g. cyber libel provisions under the Republic Act No. 10175, or the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” and Senate Bill No. 1492 or the “Anti-Fake News Act of 2017”;

Reiterating, the government has the obligation to foster an enabling environment for freedom of expression by taking measures to promote media and digital literacy, including but not limited to, engaging with civil society organizations and other stakeholders to address the negative effects of disinformation and propaganda;

Acknowledging, the role played by the Internet and other digital technologies in supporting individuals’ ability to access and disseminate information and ideas, which both enables responses to disinformation and propaganda, while also facilitating their circulation; and

Welcoming, the importance of stakeholders cooperation including intermediaries, media outlets, civil society, that should be supported in developing participatory and transparent initiatives for creating a better understanding of the impact of disinformation and propaganda on democracy, freedom of expression, journalism and civic space, as well as appropriate responses to these phenomena;

Adopt, this Declaration of the Freedom of Expression Conference in Quezon City, Philippines, in the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, on 10 December 2017.


Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition Southeast-Asia (AFEC-SEA)
Amnesty International- Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN)
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISA KA)
Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA)
Cecilia Lero
Balay Rehabilitation Center Inc.
Medical Action Group (MAG)
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)
Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)