Call for submissions: Challenges to freedom of opinion and expression in times of conflicts and disturbances

Learn more and send your inputs here. Deadline 11 July 2022.


The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan will focus her next thematic report on challenges to freedom of opinion and expression in times of armed conflict and other disturbances for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in October 2022.

The Special Rapporteur invites stakeholders, including Member States, international organizations, national human rights institutions, digital technology companies, civil society organizations, media representatives, and scholars to share their views.

In particular, she would welcome contributions in response to one or more of the following questions:

  1. a) Please describe specific situations where disinformation, misinformation or propaganda have been used or restrictions have been placed on the media or access to the Internet in order to instigate, aggravate or sustain hatred, violence or conflict. What means and methods are used to manipulate information in such situations?

    b) What role have States, armed groups or social media platforms played to instigate or mitigate such manipulation of information?

    c) What has been the impact on human rights and the lives of people? Which groups of people have been particularly affected and in what ways?

    d) What has been the impact of such propaganda, disinformation or misinformation on the work of human rights defenders, journalists, civil society, humanitarian and development organizations?

Please provide written case-studies or reports on such situations where available.

  1. a) What are the legal, policy and practical challenges faced by States, companies, media and civil society organizations in upholding freedom of opinion and expression while countering hate speech, disinformation or other forms of information manipulation in situations of conflict and disturbances?

    b) Where do you see major legal and policy gaps or inconsistencies on these issues?  Please share your thoughts on how they could be best addressed.

  1. a) What legislative, administrative, policy or regulatory or other measures has the government in your country taken to protect online and offline freedom of expression or access to information in times of emergency, conflict, violence, disturbances?

    b) What legislative, administrative, policy or regulatory or other measures exist in your country to address online or offline:

    • Propaganda for war;
    • Disinformation and misinformation; and
    • Incitement to violence, discrimination or hatred

    c) Is there recent jurisprudence or decisions in relation to these laws, policies or practices?

    d) What has been the impact of these measures on human rights and international humanitarian law?

    e) Do you have any suggestions on how these measures can be improved to uphold human rights while countering war propaganda, disinformation, misinformation and incitement?

  1. a) How do internet intermediaries address:
    • Propaganda for war;
    • Incitement to violence, discrimination or hatred
    • Disinformation and misinformation that instigates or aggravates violence, instability or conflicts

    b) In your view are the companies’ policies and measures in line with international human rights and humanitarian law standards, and are they being implemented effectively?

    c) What improvements would you suggest?

    d) What good practices have been developed by companies?

  2. What role has legacy media played in addressing disinformation, misinformation and propaganda in situations of conflict, violence and disturbances? What challenges do legacy media faced in combating such information manipulation?
  3. Please provide examples of good practices, including at the community level, to fight disinformation and hate speech during conflicts and disturbances.
  4. Please share any suggestions or recommendations you may have for the Special Rapporteur on how to protect and promote freedom of opinion and expression while countering the manipulation of information in times of conflict, disturbances or tensions.
  5. What other issues in relation to freedom of opinion and expression in the context of conflict do you feel should be given attention by the Special Rapporteur and why?

Please share any relevant documents, reports, news or academic articles that you believe should be considered by the Special Rapporteur.