Kathmandu: The 2022 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Gender Justice has underlined the role the right to freedom of opinion and expression plays in the promotion and protection of human rights and dignity, the advancement of sustainable development, and the supporting and strengthening of democratic societies.
The joint declaration has been issued by The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.
The joint declaration has condemned online attacks and harassment of women journalists as one of the most serious contemporary threats to their safety and damaging to media freedom.
The declaration has provided recommendations to states, companies, in particular internet intermediaries and social media platforms, the media industry, and the general public.
The recommendations provide guidance on eliminating discrimination and prejudice; ensuring access to information; averting gender-specific restrictions on expression; addressing online sexual and gender-based violence; and on human rights due diligence.
The declaration states that states are obliged under international law to proactively remove the structural and systemic barriers to equality as well as discriminatory laws, policies and practices that impede women’s full enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Eliminating discrimination against women requires a “whole-of-society” approach, states the declaration.
“States, the private sector and civil society should work together to address discrimination, stereotyping and interpretations of culture, religion and tradition that subordinate and disempower women and are a root cause of sexual and gender-based violence as well as gendered censorship,” reads the joint declaration.