We trained judges in freedom of speech

In December, Civil Rights Defenders organised a workshop on the new freedom of expression law for judges in Moldova. The aim was to improve understanding of how the new legislation should be interpreted and applied by magistrates who work with these types of cases. “Strengthening the legal system is central, because that’s where the rights are protected”, commented Percy Bratt, chairman of Civil Rights Defenders board and one of the trainers, afterwards.

In early December, we organised a workshop on the new Freedom of Expression law for 30 judges from 24 districts in Moldova together with our Moldovan partner. The course focused on the new media law in Moldova and case law from the European Court of Human Rights. Our aim was to improve understanding of how the new legislation should be interpreted and applied by magistrates who work with these types of cases.

In connection with the training, the guide “Comments to the Law of the Republic of Moldova on the Freedom of Expression”, was presented and distributed to facilitate the judges and lawyers use of the law.

Civil Rights Defenders’ Chairman of the Board, Percy Bratt, participated in the training and talked about the Swedish laws regarding freedom of expression and jurisprudence of the ECtHR. He said that, for the laws to have an effect it is important to raise the awareness of professionals.

“Strengthening the legal system is central, because that’s where the rights are protected. Strengthening the freedom of speech is a foundation for democratic development, which is why it is very important that we arrange these courses.”

In Moldova a major problem is the low trust in the justice system among the public. Judges earn very little in comparison. Nevertheless many live in luxury villas which sends the wrong signal to people.

“It is not possible to incorporate human rights in a corrupt judiciary. We must work in parallel with the fight against corruption”, says Percy Bratt.

The new media law is very important for freedom of speech in the country; it secures the right to criticize the state and its authorities. The protection of the source is strengthened as well as the right to privacy and integrity. The law also criminalizes hate speech.

Together with Independent Journalism Center we have worked to prepare the bill, lobbying to get the law enacted since 2006. Now that the law is adopted we continue to work for the law to be applied correctly.

Categories: Achievements.
Tags: Freedom of expression, Independent Journalism Centre, and Media Law.
Regions: Moldova.