ELI Webinar on Freedom of Expression as a Common Constitutional Tradition in Europe


The recent ELI Report on Freedom of Expression as a Common Constitutional Tradition in Europe was discussed at the webinar as well as its relevance to issues of today.

Lord John Thomas (Chair; ELI First Vice President) welcomed participants and underlined that the ELI Report demonstrates the importance of common constitutional traditions and, in particular, freedom of speech to contemporary Europe. Riccardo de Caria (Team member of the ELI Project, Assistant Professor, University of Turin) and Mario Comba (Co-Reporter of ELI Project, Professor, University of Turin) went on to present the ELI Report, which summarises the current laws in EU Member States on freedom of expression and provides a practical tool (checklist) for practitioners, judges and public officials.

Artemiza-Tatiana Chisca (Head of the Media and Internet Division, Information Society Department, Secretary to the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI), Council of Europe) welcomed the comprehensive ELI Report and congratulated the authors for the practical tools developed. She presented the work of the Council of Europe, in particular several recently adopted instruments by the Committee of Ministers, such as the recommendation on the impact of digital technologies on freedom of expression.

Yana Toom (Member of the LIBE Committee, European Parliament) echoed the remarks of Artemiza-Tatiana Chisca on the ELI Report. She underlined that the EU continues to score best on media freedom globally, however, media freedom and pluralism have deteriorated in recent years due to a number of factors, including the impact of the digital transformation on the media landscape. She presented the actions taken by the European Parliament in this regard and underlined the importance of striking a proper balance between the legislative framework and strong professional community, and between the interests of States and freedom of speech.

Barbora Bukovska (Senior Director of Law and Policy, ARTICLE 19) echoed the previous remarks on the ELI Report and applauded the ELI Team for a very thorough output. She provided further comments from the perspective of the work of ARTICLE 19, reflecting on its Global Expression Report. She focused in particular on hate speech and the regulation of media and digital technologies.

Madis Ernits (Estonian National Expert Seconded to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Research and Documentation Directorate, Judge at the Administrative Chamber of the Tartu Court of Appeal) provided insights on the case law of the CJEU. He focused in particular on three judgements, Associazione Avvocatura per i diritti LGBTI (C-507/18), Autorité des marchés financiers (C-302/20) and Poland v Parliament and Council (C-401/19).

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session with participants.

Madis Ernits’ PowerPoint slides are available for download here and the webinar recording can be viewed below.

More information about the ELI Report is available here.