International Standards

International Standards Research Reports

The Panel is working with leading academic institutions and law firms around the world to provide advice on model elements for the drafting and interpretation of legislation in line with international human rights standards.

This involves:

(1) reviewing the laws that are most frequently used to target media freedom and studying their use in prosecutions around the world;

(2) reviewing national and international standards relevant to such laws;

(3) reviewing existing guidance issued by international experts and bodies; and

(4) providing practical advice to governments, legislators and judges on drafting legislation, including specific guidance on penalties and language that would comply with international human rights law and reflect best practices in this area.

The High Level Panel addressing laws that are most frequently used to target journalists and those undertaking journalistic activity in six separate reports covering:

  1. Blasphemy laws;
  2. False Speech;
  3. Defamation and ‘insult’ laws;
  4. Espionage;
  5. Official Secrets laws;
  6. Hate speech.

On Religious Freedom and Discontent: Report on International Standards and Blasphemy Laws


This report provides a series of recommendations concerning blasphemy laws – in summary, the recommendations are (1) the repeal of blasphemy laws, especially those that carry criminal penalties; (2) the steps that can be taken to limit the most prejudicial effects of such laws pending their repeal; and (3) non-legal interventions by states, including action that supports a rich and diverse media environment and encourages counter-speech by religious leaders and other actors.

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High Level Panel of Legal Experts
The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is an independent advisory body of the Media Freedom Coalition