Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression was established by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with the adoption of Resolution 71 at the 36th Ordinary Session held in Dakar, Senegal from 23rd November to 7th December 2004. The mandate calls for the Special Rapporteur to

  1. analyse national media legislation, policies and practice within Member States;
  2. monitor their compliance with freedom of expression standards and advise Member States accordingly;
  3. undertake investigative missions to Member States where reports of massive violations of the right to freedom of expression are made and make appropriate recommendations to the African Commission;
  4. undertake country missions and any other promotional activity that would strengthen the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression in Africa;
  5. make public interventions where violations of the right of freedom of expression have been brought to his/her attention; keep a proper record of violations of the right of freedom of expression and publish this in his/her reports submitted to the African Commission; and
  6. submit reports at each ordinary session of the African Commission on the status of the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression in Africa.

At the 42nd session held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in November 2007, the Commission decided to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur with the following amended title: Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and to entrust the Special Rapporteur with the mandate to:

  1. analyse national media legislation, policies and practice within Member States, monitor their compliance with freedom of expression and access to information standards in general and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa in particular, and advise Member States accordingly;
  2. undertake fact-finding missions to Member States from where reports of systemic violations of the right to freedom of expression and denial of access to information have reached the attention of the Special Rapporteur and make appropriate recommendations to the African Commission;
  3. undertake promotional country Missions and any other activities that would strengthen the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and the promotion of access to information in Africa;
  4. make public interventions where violations of the right to freedom of expression and access to information have been brought to her attention, including by issuing public statements, press releases, and sending appeals to Member States asking for clarifications;
  5. keep a proper record of violations of the right to freedom of expression and denial of access to information and publish this in her reports submitted to the African Commission; and
  6. submit reports at each Ordinary Session of the African Commission on the status of the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and access to information in Africa.

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