Nominations Open for Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes

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Dr. Agnes Callamard
Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression & Information

Nominations are now open for the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes, which celebrate judicial decisions and legal services around the world that strengthen freedom of expression by promoting international standards.

Anyone is eligible to nominate court decisions or legal services that have had a recognizable impact on freedom of expression for the prizes, which are awarded every two years by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, a Columbia University initiative that seeks to advance understanding of the international and national norms and institutions that best protect the free flow of information and expression in an inter-connected global community with major common challenges to address.

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression is particularly inviting nominations, including self-nominations, from jurists and other legal experts, academics, and non-governmental organizations actively engaged in protecting freedom of expression and nominees from around the world are eligible.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger created the prizes in 2015 and it is the first prize recognizing court decisions and legal services that strengthen free expression.

The 2022 prizes will be awarded in two categories, namely:

  • Significant legal ruling, which willrecognize a decision rendered anywhere in the world that has advanced or strengthened global understanding of international norms of Freedom of Expression and Information, with preference given to decisions rendered between 2020 and 2021; and
  • Excellence in legal services, which will recognize a legal brief, amicus brief, academic or other publication, anywhere in the world, that has advanced or strengthened global understanding of international norms of Freedom of Expression and Information, with preference given to services rendered between 2020 and 2021.

The selection of winners will be guided by a number of considerations, including whether the decision or legal service demonstrates sound legal reasoning and has advanced the legal understanding of the issues under consideration; whether the decision or legal service makes a significant contribution to the protection of freedom of expression or information; and whether the decision or legal service demonstrates a global understanding of freedom of expression and information. 

All nominees are required to have established a reputation for integrity and a commitment to human rights, rule of law, and legal excellence.

The prize winners will be selected by an independent panel of experts in law, advocacy, journalism, and human rights.  The Jury is composed of five to seven members, from the legal profession, academic and civil society, who have established a reputation for excellence in their respective areas of expertise. Members of the Jury are appointed for a period of two years, which is renewable once and the Jury is chaired by the President of Columbia University.

The current members of the Jury are Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University;  Catalina Botero, former Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Sir Nicolas Bratza, former President of the European Court of Human Rights; Lydia Cacho, a human rights defender, journalist and author; Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International; Saraj Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee; and Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.  However, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression may invite additional experts to join the committee.

Nominations will close on December 30, 2021 and the nominations will be reviewed between January 2, 2022 and February 28, 2022.  The winners will be announced on March 1, 2022.

To nominate a candidate, go to:  https://bit.ly/399oosU