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This Week in Freedom of Expression 2018–12–09


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/12/09

“Responding to news that the High Court in Kigali has ruled to discharge and acquit Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara on all charges that had been brought against them, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s East Africa Director, said:

“Diane and Adeline Rwigara should never have faced charges for expressing their views.

“While we welcome their discharge and acquittal, we are concerned that the right to freedom of expression remains under attack in Rwanda.”


Freedom of expression and information is at its most restricted in a decade, according to human rights organisation Article 19.

In a report published on Wednesday, the organisation warned that the murders of journalists and activists around the world, compounded by surveillance and restriction of online spaces, was having a chilling effect on freedom of opinion and expression.

It noted that “technology has given us more opportunities to speak and to know than any known period of human endeavour, yet globally free speech is declining”.”


“In May 2016, the German city of Oldenburg prevented a public lecture titled “BDS: A Palestinian Human Rights Campaign” from taking place by withdrawing its permission for event organizers to use the scheduled event space. On September 27, 2018, the Adminisrative Court-Oldenburg ruled that the city’s cancellation of the contract with the group BDS Initiative-Oldenburg had been unlawful.

Now, almost two months later, the full 20-page decision lays out the court’s reasoning.

BDS Initiative Oldenburg considers this decision of the Administrative Court of Oldenburg to be an important step toward a more informed and democratic public discussion in Germany when Israel and the Palestinian people are concerned.”


“Mauritius doesn’t get a whole lot of international attention. The island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is a diverse country that is highly ranked for democracy, and economic and political freedom. The Economist’s Intelligence Unit has named the country the only “full democracy” in Africa, and Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report calls it a free country. The country’s Constitution (Art. 12) protects freedom of expression, with exceptions in line with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But readers of this blog know that democracies, from France to India and many places in between, often get Internet regulation terribly wrong. Recent amendments to Mauritius’ ICT Act are exemplary of that fact.

The Information and Communications Technologies Act was created in 2001 and covers a broad array of topics, from fraud to identity theft to tampering with telecommunications infrastructure. The Act also defines as an offense the use of telecommunication equipment to “send, deliver or show a message which is obscene, indecent, abusive, threatening, false or misleading, or is likely to cause distress or anxiety.””



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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