Freedom of Expression

Special Rapporteur

Edison Lanza

Edison Lanza
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights appointed Uruguayan journalist and attorney Edison Lanza as Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in July 2014.

Before assuming the position of Special Rapporteur, he had worked as a reporter in several media outlets, as a consultant for international organizations on issues of freedom of expression and right to information, as counsel for the Uruguayan journalists’ union, and as an university professor. In addition, he has filed several emblematic cases related to the right to freedom of expression in the Inter-American Human Rights System; he has been a member, director and founder of several non-governmental organizations for the defense of the right to freedom of expression, and he was a member of several national bodies to monitor compliance of standards related to freedom of expression and access to public information. He has written and promoted several bills at the national and regional level and is author of numerous publications specialized in the subject. He graduated as a lawyer and took graduate studies on freedom of expression and criminal law at the Universidad de la República of Uruguay, and he is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires on studies linked to the regulatory processes of audiovisual media in the region.

Lanza has co-founded and presided the Center for Archives and Access to Public Information, co-founded the Media and Society Group, has been a member of the Committee on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in the Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information, and of the Working Group on the Inter-American System of Human Rights and the OAS of the IFEX-ALC alliance in defense of freedom of expression. He has been a consultant for several organizations, including the United Nations Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression, the World Bank, the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), and the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC). He was hired by the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador to develop a bill that guarantees the exercise of the right of reply and correction, was a member of the expert group convened by the Department of International Law of the OAS in the process of building the Template Inter-American Law on Access to Public Information, was appointed by Uruguay’s Executive branch as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee that drafted the basis of the bill of Audiovisual Communication Services, was a representative of civil society in the Technical Advisory Committee which prepared the basis for the regulation on the Rights of Children and Adolescents , Freedom of Expression and Media, and was a member of the Working Group that developed an initiative to amend the offenses of contempt and slander in Uruguayan legislation, approved in 2008.

Former Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression

Catalina Botero, 2008-2014


Catalina Botero

Catalina Botero Marino was the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during the period October 6, 2008 to October 5, 2014.

Catalina Botero is a Colombian attorney who worked as Acting Magistrate and Auxiliary Magistrate in the Constitutional Court of Colombia for 8 years. Previously she has held a number of posts, including: adviser for the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation; National Director of the Office for the Promotion of Human Rights in the Office of the People’s Defender of Colombia, Director of the Consultancy for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law at the Social Foundation, and professor and researcher at the Law School of the Universidad de los Andes and other national and international universities. She is the author of several books and essays published in different countries on freedom of expression, constitutional law, international criminal law and transitional justice.

She received her law degree in 1988 at the Universidad de los Andes and did postgraduate studies there, as well as in Madrid, Spain, at Universidad Complutense, Universidad Carlos III, and the Center for Constitutional Studies.

Ignacio Álvarez, 2006-2008


Ignacio Álvarez

Ignacio J. Álvarez was Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) from March 2006 to March 2008. He is a Venezuelan and U.S. citizen, with a law degree from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela, a Specialist in Procedural Law degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and a Master in International Law (LLM) from American University in Washington, D.C. He worked at the IACHR as a lawyer specializing on human rights from 1998 until 2006. He has authored several articles on human rights published in Spanish, English and Portuguese. Prior to joining the IACHR, he worked from 1986 to 1996 at the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie in Caracas and at the law firm of Álvarez, Rivas & Associates in Caracas. Currently, he practices as the founding member of the law firm of Alvarez Martinez Law Firm LLC in Washington, D.C. and forms part of the Steering Committee of the International Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar.


Eduardo Bertoni, 2002-2005


Eduardo Bertoni

Mr. Bertoni is an Argentine lawyer and a graduate Phd of the University of Buenos Aires. He has done graduate studies at Columbia University School of Law and is a former fellow of the Human Rights Institute there. He has also been appointed Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the School of Law of Universidad de Buenos Aires, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on freedom of expression and criminal law. Before taking on office at the OAS, he has been a legal advisor for several nongovernmental organizations in his country, among them “Asociación Periodistas”, and he was a member at the “Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales” (CELS), “Instituto de Estudios Comparado en Ciencias Penales y Sociales” (INECIP) and “Foro para la Reconstrucción Institucional.” He has also worked as an advisor to the Department of Justice and Human Rights in Argentina. Mr. Bertoni has written several publications on the right to freedom of expression, he has given lectures and conferences in several countries. Eduardo Bertoni was the Executive Director of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) until May, 2006. Then, He was the Director of Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information -CELE.


Santiago Canton, 1998 - 2001


Santiago Canton

From 1998 to 2001 Santiago Canton the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. An Argentine citizen, he studied law at the University of Buenos Aires and earned a Master of International Law degree at American University in Washington, D.C. From 1994 to 1998, he was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a democratic development organization based in Washington, D.C. He also worked as Political Adviser to President Jimmy Carter on democratic development programs. After finished his period as a Special Rapporteur he was elected as Executive Secretary of the IACHR where worked from August 2001 until June 30, 2012. Curently Mr Canton is Executive Director of Partners for Human Rights at Robert F. Kenndy Center for Justice and also is Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, The Georgetown University Law Center and the Universidad de Buenos Aires.