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Terrorism Fight Restricts Right To Free Expression

Fight Against Terrorism Could Restrict Right To Free Expression, Un Expert Warns

The legitimate efforts of many countries to prevent terrorism might be restricting the basic human right to information, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression told the UN Commission on Human Rights today.

Delivering his report to the Commission's annual meeting, being held in Geneva, Ambeyi Ligabo painted a grim global picture, saying attacks continue to occur in many States against citizens - such as journalists and trade union workers - who dared to express different opinions.

Mr. Ligabo added that the perpetrators of those attacks, which occur across the world in different but damaging ways, are rarely punished. He called for an in-depth study on the security of journalists in conflict zones.

He also called for the reversal of the concentration of large media groups in some countries, saying their dominance of media markets does not allow for a pluralistic approach to information.

Also addressing the Commission, Leandro Despouy, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, told the Commission that the work of the International Criminal Court which is starting operations in The Hague, should be strengthened.

Mr. Despouy, who has recently taken over the post, said he would focus on corruption and impunity, because of political influence, in his future reports.

He indicated he would also examine discrimination for disadvantaged groups seeking justice, such as religious communities, women, children and the disabled.

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