Freedom of Expression

Press Release R228/21

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression publishes its new thematic report: Childhood, Freedom of Expression and the Media


31 August 2021

Washington D.C. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR publishes its thematic report "Childhood, Freedom of Expression and the Media", which analyzes the right to freedom of expression of children and adolescents in the context of traditional media and the challenges of the new paradigm that the Internet represents to guarantee human rights.

The document aims to contribute to a better understanding of children's right to freedom of expression, recognising that this should be interpreted in the broadest and most effective way possible, and that it is necessary to see and treat children as subjects of rights in accordance with the principle of progressive autonomy. The right to freedom of expression is universal in content and should not be interpreted in opposition to other rights, such as the protection of children's privacy and dignity.

The report examines the fundamental role of the media as a space for the promotion and facilitation of the exercise of the right to freedom of expression directly by children and adolescents, and as an instrument for their education and socialization. The Rapporteur’s Office recognizes that, at a regional level, children and adolescents have had difficulties in accessing the public sphere, the media and institutional channels to express their demands. However, in recent decades, with the rise and accelerated development of the Internet, they have found in the digital space a place where they can express themselves and share their views on issues of public interest to a greater extent. In this sense, the document also recognizes the problems related to access and affordability of digital technologies in the Americas, and how the digital divide can impact on the exercise of children's rights.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur emphasizes that this report was prepared with broad participation and think thanks, Member States, civil society, academic organizations, and experts who made contributions during the different phases of the drafting process. 

This Office believes that this report will help to identify the problems and challenges faced by this group to exercise their right to express themselves in a free, vigorous, and permanent manner. In accordance with the Inter-American legal framework, the report provides recommendations that will allow the States of the region to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and opinion of children and adolescents and to review the regulations that establish disproportionate restrictions to the exercise of their rights, always keeping the best interests of children and adolescents as the focus of all public policies.

To access the full report click here

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression is an office created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the hemispheric defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression, considering its fundamental role in the consolidation and development of the democratic system.