IGF 2020 Village Booth #14 Columbia Global Freedom of Expression


Columbia University's Global Freedom of Expression initiative seeks to advance understanding of the international and national norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information and expression.

To achieve its objective, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression engages with a range of stakeholders, including academic experts, legal practitioners, judges, activists and students. It undertakes and commissions research and policy projects, organizes events and the Justice for Freedom of Expression Conference, publishes a weekly newsletter, and participates in and contributes to global debates on the protection of freedom of expression and information in the 21st century.

Its flagship project is the Global Freedom of Expression Case Law Database, an online platform that provides summaries and analyses of more than 1,450 judicial decisions relating to freedom of expression from 130 countries.

  • A Spanish language version of the database offers nearly 350 analysis of court decisions, with a focus on Latin America.
  • An Arabic language version was recently launched and offers 50 analyses of landmark cases from around the world, as well as analyses of selected rulings from the Middle East and North Africa.   


Columbia Global Freedom of Expression has produced a two-part Massive Open Online Course available on the EdX platform. If you are interested in learning about the norms, institutions and forces that altogether have founded a global system of protection for freedom of expression and information, please check out our courses below:

Teaching Portal

In 2019, Global Freedom of Expression launched a new teaching portal Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers, in partnership with 10 Universities and civil society organizations from around the world, to promote the adoption of a global approach to the teaching of free speech. The Portal includes pedagogical resources designed by professors and trainers from different parts of the world and across different disciplines. The website is organized under nine teaching modules, each of which covers a variety of themes within subject areas. 

Global Freedom of Expression Prizes

The Global Freedom of Expression Prizes recognize judicial decisions and legal representation around the world that strengthen freedom of expression by promoting international legal norms. The prizes are awarded every two years in two categories: Significant Legal Ruling and Excellence in Legal Services.

The 2018 the Significant Legal Ruling Prize went to the “Sugary Drinks” Decision rendered by  the Constitutional Court of Colombia. The judgment found that prohibiting the NGO  Educar Consumidores from broadcasting a commercial about the health risks of sugary drinks amounted to prior restraint and violated the consumers’ right to receive information. Here is a video about the decision.

Read more about us in the Implementation Report.