International Law on “licensing of media workers”

From the Article 19 organization on the international law pertaining to “licensing of media workers”:

The Article 19 organization takes it’s name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

19) Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“Responding to the argument that a licensing regime is simply the ‘normal’ way to regulate certain professions . . . In contrast to lawyers and physicians, the activities of journalists – the seeking, receiving and imparting of information and ideas – are specifically protected as a human right, namely the right to freedom of expression.”

“The three special mandates for protecting freedom of expression – the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression – adopt a Joint Declaration each year setting out standards relating to important freedom of expression issues. In their 2004 Declaration, they stated: “Individual journalists should not be required to be licensed or to register.

It is thus clear that, under international law, licensing and even registration of media workers is prohibited. In practice, licensing schemes for journalists are virtually unheard of in established democracies.”

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