Consultation Open: Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation

Our public consultation on ARTICLE 19’s Principles on Defamation is open!


Back in 2000, ARTICLE 19, in cooperation with international freedom of expression and media experts, published Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation (the Principles). The Principles, one of the first standard setting documents in this area,  set out the appropriate balance between the right to freedom of expression and the need to protect individual reputation. Since their adoption, the Principles have obtained significant recognition and international endorsement.

In the last fifteen years, however, there have been significant developments in legal, social and technological spheres that impact on how freedom of expression and reputation are balanced. While still a valid and important guiding document, ARTICLE 19 believes that the Defamation Principles need to be updated to properly reflect these developments.

You can read the Background paper – which summarises these developments and a more detailed justification for an update of the Principles – here.

Revised Principles

In 2015, ARTICLE 19 discussed the Draft Revised Principles with a group of international freedom of expression and media experts at a meeting in London. The suggested changes are highlighted in the Draft Revised Principles.  No amendments are proposed for areas where adequate protection is already provided for in the original Principles.

To ensure the relevance of the Principles and broad ownership of them by stakeholders, ARTICLE 19 is inviting all interested parties to discuss and comment on the revision.

The public consultation will last from May-July 2016. The final version will be launched online in September 2016.

We hope that the final Revised Principles will be used in national, regional and international advocacy to improve the protection of freedom of expression in this complex area.

Comment directly on the document or email your comments to us at