United States must protect freedom of expression at home and abroad

United States must protect freedom of expression at home and abroad - Civic Space

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests during a campaign rally at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.

“ARTICLE 19 calls on President-elect Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress, to uphold the core United States value of freedom of expression and maintain the important and long-standing role of the United States in protecting this right internationally,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“The values of the United States Constitution are reflected in international human rights law, which the United States has long championed around the world. President-elect Trump must recommit to uphold these values both at home and abroad in this time of heightened global uncertainty,” Hughes continued.

ARTICLE 19 calls on President-elect Trump and the United States Government to:

  1. Embrace his pledge to be a “President for all Americans”, including by unequivocally renouncing the repeated attacks made against ethnic and religious minorities, women, and persons with disabilities during the election campaign, and refraining from such rhetoric in future. All people in the United States must be able to exercise their right to freedom of expression freely and participate fully in public life.
  2. Protect media freedom and recognise the important role of an independent and critical press, and refrain from statements that legitimise or incite violence against journalists, or that justify the abuse of libel laws to attack journalists and silence critical voices.
  3. Fully respect and protect the right to protest, including for government critics and opponents.
  4. Remain an active and engaged member of the United Nations committed to promoting freedom of expression and ensuring accountability for human rights violations, including through its membership of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as of regional bodies such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
  5. Maintain vocal support and funding for civil society organisations and human rights defenders working to promote human rights and democracy around the world.

ARTICLE 19 also calls on the new administration, together with Congress, to address long-standing freedom of expression concerns in the United States:

  1. Prohibit mass digital surveillance, ensuring the compliance of all surveillance activities with the United States Constitution and international human rights law.
  2. End the prosecution of whistleblowers who reveal information in the public interest, and reform the Whistleblower Protection Act, Espionage Act and other relevant laws and executive orders to protect public interest disclosures.
  3. Ensure an open, transparent and accountable government, including by championing the Freedom of Information Act and the proactive disclosure of government policies, practices, and data.