Helsingin-yliopisto-LogoThe University of Helsinki is holding a major conference on freedom of expression on 8 and 9 May 2014 in Helsinki. The Conference is designed for researchers, judges, journalists, representatives of NGOs and media practitioners (lawyers, editors, journalists, etc.) who are interested in the practical and legal extent and limitations on the freedom of expression.

The conference will provide academics and practitioners alike with the opportunity to learn about the most significant freedom of expression developments in Europe in recent years. Experts from across the continent will provide an overview of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the most important trends in the field of freedom of expression. The conference will have as its main focus the legal aspects of freedom of expression, but media’s self-regulation and ‘self-censorship’ will also be discussed.

The Conference begins on Thursday morning (May 8, 2014) with a plenary lecture by Mark Cole (University of Luxembourg) on ‘Freedom of Expression’ and continues with Jan Oster’s (Leiden University) presentation on press freedom. After that Lara Fielden (Reuters Institute, Oxford) will speak about press ethics and self-regulation of the press. The day will continue with a commentary by Risto Uimonen, who is the chairman of the Finnish Press Council. Then researcher Reeta Pöyhtäri (University of Tampere) will present her research on how hate speech in the internet affects journalistic behaviour and expression. After Pöyhtäri’s speech, we will hear a journalistic comment on the impact of hate speech on journalistic work by Hannele Valkeeniemi (YLE). The afternoon is reserved for participants’ presentations (following the CfP).

The conference continues on Friday morning with professor Dirk Voorhoof (Ghent University) who will give a critical analysis of some developments and characteristics in the ECtHR’s case law. Judge, Päivi Hirvelä LL.D. (ECtHR) will then have a chance to comment on Voorhoof’s speech and tell us about the new trends in the ECtHR in the field of freedom of expression. University lecturer Pauli Rautiainen and professor Jukka Viljanen (University of Tampere) will then give their presentation on the Finnish way of legal reasoning in the test of European Courts’ case-law.Finally, Pauliine Koskelo, who is the President of the Finnish Supreme Court, will comment on the previous speeches. Friday afternoon is reserved for participants’ presentations (following the CfP). The conference will conclude with a general discussion and summing up by the conference convenor.

The full conference programme can be seen here.

The Conference invites papers focussing freedom of expression: the extent and limitations of freedom of expression in law and in practice, its relation to other fundamental and human rights, new challenges arising from digitalisation and new technologies, press ethics and self-censorship. The perspective can be legal or journalistic.  The deadline for abstract submission is 28 February 2014.

Registration for the Conference can be done via this link.