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HRC44: Nordic-Baltic countries address special rapporteur freedom of expression

44th session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
13 July 2020
Intervention by the Nordic – Baltic States
Delivered by Sweden
Thank you Mr President.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries [Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden].
We sincerely thank the Special Rapporteur for his report and significant work during his tenure.
We reaffirm the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, online and offline. We call on states to protect journalists and media workers from intimidation, threats, harassment and violence and to ensure accountability and prevent impunity.
The role of independent media is of utmost importance and supports individuals to protect themselves and to scrutinise their governments. Individuals cannot protect themselves if information is denied.
We recognise that transparent dialogue is essential to democratic societies and underline that States must fulfil their international legal obligations to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and opinion and to ensure access to information. This is central to prevent further spread of COVID-19.  Restrictions of human rights imposed to resolve the health crisis must be strictly in line with international law.
Mr. Kaye, in your view, how can states take steps to address disinformation without restricting human rights?
I thank you

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