In 2015, President Lee C. Bollinger created the first prizes recognizing 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 by the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, the initiative that President Bollinger established in 2014.
On March 1, President Bollinger welcomed and introduced the 2022 Global Freedom of Expression Awards Ceremony. He remarked,
"We’re living through a time when threats to global freedom of expression are mounting, when democratic principles are being eroded and authoritarian governments are rising in number and in prominence... Fortunately, the global norms that courts, with great difficulties, began to build during the last decades of the 20th century, are providing strong counterweights to these regressive trends."
Catalina Botero Marino, Global Freedom of Expression and co-chair Facebook Oversight Board, introduced the winner in the category "Significant Legal Ruling" to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States for its ruling in Amnesty International & Ors v. The Togolese Republic. This decision expands the right to Freedom of Expression by recognizing that the right to internet access is an element of expression.
Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International and former director of Global Freedom of Expression, presented the award for "Excellence in Legal Services" to the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) and Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Bedoya Lima v. Colombia. Through this landmark judgment, FLIP and CEJIL highlighted the specific obstacles women journalists face, showed how sexual violence has been used as a tool for silencing and punishing women in the context of the armed conflict and demonstrated how this has a chilling effect on their journalism.
Watch the full awards ceremony here: