Targeted, Monitored and Silenced: Digital Attacks on Open Societies and the Freedom of Expression


Chancellor Day Hall Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (NCDH 100), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism welcomes its 2019 Litvack Prize awardee, Deniz Yücel, who will be accepting the award on behalf of all threatened and silenced Turkish voices.

Mr. Yücel is a German-Turkish journalist and producer who became a target of the Turkish government through his critical reporting on sensitive topics, such as the Kurdish issue, the Syrian war and hacked documents. He was detained in pre-trial custordy in Turkey in February 2017 on charges of supporting terrorism, and was released from pretrial detention after a year in prison, 10 months of which were spent in solitary confinement.

There will be a keynote speech by David Kaye, professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014, he is the global body’s principal monitor for freedom of expression issues worldwide. His thematic reporting has addressed, among other things, growing repression of freedom of expression globally, encryption and anonymity, the protection of whistleblowers and journalistic sources, the roles and responsibilities of private Internet companies, the regulation of online content by social media and search companies and the ways in which Artificial Intelligence technologies implicate human rights issues.

The closing remarks will be given by Veysel Ok, a Turkish free speech and press rights advocate, known for his defense of journalists' rights. He has acted as legal counsel in more than 400 press freedom trials and has defended some of Turkey’s most well-known journalists, including Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel.

About the Litvack Award & Lecture

The Litvack Award was created in 1987 to recognize the memory of Mr. Robert Litvack, BCL'63, whose passionate commitment to the defense of the rule of law brought about landmark decisions in aboriginal and linguistic rights. It is awarded to "a person who has made a distinguished contribution to the defense of the rule of law and the protection of the individual against arbitrary power".

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