Freedom of Expression, Right to Information, Personal Data and the Internet in the view of the Inter-American System of Human Rights

Silvia Susana TOSCANO

Abstract


The Inter-American System of Protection of Human Rights is composed of microsystems, like the freedom of expression, the right to information and the protection of privacy and of personal data, among others. These rights interrelate and form the standards of the Inter-American system, in accordance with the UN system, to develop these liberties, and to keep the constant balance of these rights in conflict. All of this enhanced by a dynamic and growing massiveness, like the internet and by a new paradigm in which the freedom of expression and the right to information is included: a postmodern society characterized by a “democratization” of connectivity, a multidirectional transmission of the information and a dichotomy between what is public or private. Freedom of expression is developed in both of its two dimensions: individual or collective. When we talk about its individual dimension, we mean the right of each person to express his ideas, thoughts and beliefs aiming at unidirectional, bidirectional or multidirectional communication. The collective or social dimension refers to the right of a person to receive any type of information, to know the thoughts, ideas and information of others and have free access to them. Both dimensions are equally important and are interdependent, thus it is important to protect them simultaneously. New communication technologies have altered the previous system, and the individual dimension of freedom of expression breaks into public debate on the democratization of internet access and its social dimension due to the feasibility a multidirectional communication impossible to conceive in any other technological paradigm entails. The protection scheme of freedom of expression of the Inter-American System is particularly strong as it specifically prohibits prior censorship and rules sanctions and very strict restrictions in relation to discrimination, advocacy of war, violence and hatred. This characteristic enriches the analysis of content regulation and the responsibility of internet intermediaries whenever honour, reputation and privacy are impaired. The applied standards and statements that nourish in the American Convention on Human Rights guarantee the reasonableness, appropriateness and proportionality of any measure assuring freedom of expression and human dignity.

Keywords


Freedom of expression, Right to information, Data and internet in the view of Inter-American System of Human Rights

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14201/ADCAIJ201711229





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