Regardless of Frontiers: Global Freedom of Expression in a Troubled World

Regardless of Frontiers: Global Freedom of Expression in a Troubled World


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The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 proclaimed a vision of freedom of expression exercised regardless of frontiers. Nonetheless, laws and norms regarding the freedom or limits of expression are typically established and understood at the national level. In today’s interconnected world, newfound threats to free expression have suddenly arisen. How can this fundamental right be secured at a global level?

This volume brings together leading experts from a variety of fields to critically evaluate the extent to which global norms on freedom of expression and information have been established and which actors and institutions have contributed to their diffusion. The authors also consider ongoing and new challenges to these norms, from conflicts over hate speech and the rise of populism to authoritarian governments, as well as the profound disruption introduced by the internet. Together, the essays lay the groundwork for an international legal doctrine on global freedom of expression that considers issues such as access to government-held information, media diversity, and political speech. As the world risks renouncing previous commitments to the freedom of expression, Regardless of Frontiers serves as a timely reminder of just how much is at stake and what needs protecting.


Communications Law | International and Intercultural Communication | Journalism Studies | Law




Columbia University Press


New York, NY


“Will freedom of expression survive the twenty-first century? Bollinger and Callamard offer an essential primer on how the interpretation, violation, and defense of this core human right continue to evolve. In each essay, top experts address specific challenges and opportunities. This volume is required reading for anybody working to defend and protect free speech in today’s digitally networked world.”
Rebecca MacKinnon, author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom

“This collection establishes a rigorous idea of global norms of freedom of expression. Headed by Lee C. Bollinger and Agnès Callamard, it is a rallying cry for continued attention to global norms of freedom of expression and a celebration of the global project of freedom of expression at Columbia.”
Monroe Price, author of Free Expression, Globalism, and the New Strategic Communication

“At this existential moment when freedom of expression is under attack globally and the law weaponized to silence independent journalism, we need an authoritative public record of how free speech is protected as a universal human right and to be reminded of its many defenders globally. That’s what this volume provides: a sweeping, rigorous, and balanced compendium of the nature and extent of these protections and their key actors, grounded clearly in diverse viewpoints – a vibrant reminder that freedom of speech is ours to defend or lose.”
Maria A. Ressa, CEO and executive editor, Rappler

Regardless of Frontiers explores the extent to which the global norms, values, and systems around free expression are under duress. And it is a timely reminder of the major implications, set against the background of how the free flow of information is facilitated in practice.”
Jonathan Peters, University of Georgia, press freedom correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review

“U.S. teachers and researchers who are beginning to explore international communication law more closely and those who have been doing so for a while will learn a great deal from this book, including the ways that’soft power,’ often undervalued in U.S. law, has considerable influence internationally.”
Journalism and Mass Communication Educator


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

Regardless of Frontiers: Global Freedom of Expression in a Troubled World

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