Exporting the Matrix

The Campaign to Reform Media Laws Abroad

Edited by: International Senior Lawyers Project, Richard N. Winfield

Tags: Media Law

Table of Contents (PDF)

146 pp  $40.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-146-3
eISBN 978-1-61163-216-3

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Exporting the Matrix presents the personal accounts of fifteen leading media law experts who have worked pro bono helping transitional democracies adopt progressive media laws. Their experiences and insights in helping to shape press laws abroad make for compelling reading. Several essays provide practical advice for lawyers working abroad on a variety of development projects. Some describe the laws undergoing reform, while others assess the progress that American lawyers have made, with their counterparts abroad, in creating less hostile legal environments. These accounts vindicate the book's theme, that "Freedom of thought and speech…is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom."

Overall, EXPORTING THE MATRIX will be useful as a supplemental text to American students and scholars in journalism, law, and international studies in developing what Winfield has aptly called a 'reverse perspective' on press freedom ('Globalization Comes to Media Law,' p.116). The book is refreshingly accessible as a resource on media law issues in some of the rarely noticed countries and regions (see the 'Pursuing Elusive Freedom in West Africa' chapter). Whether as a matter of media law practice or teaching and research, we do need more such books in making the international marketplace of ideas closer to reality."
— Law and Politics Book Review
This book is full of inspiring dispatches from a new breed of secular missionaries — lawyers who, free of charge, take First Amendment freedoms to foreign lands. With humility and tenacity, they are arming courageous journalists with weapons against sedition, criminal defamation, contempt by 'scandalising the court', Napoleonic insult laws and other colonial devices which governments use to silence and jail their critics. Freedom of Expression is the key both to political liberty and to combating corruption — this book shows why it is a universal right, and not a western luxury."
— Geoffrey Robertson, QC, leading British human rights and media law barrister; distinguished jurist member of the UN Justice Council; former appeals judge on the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Exporting the Matrix is an indispensable compendium of insight, experience and guidance in the world of global media reform work. No practitioner in the legal field or the not-for-profit community working on media law and media reform can afford not to have this book within fingertip reach. Besides the fascinating stories of reform abroad, much of it in very difficult circumstances, the book highlights the superb work of the International Senior Lawyers Project. These tough-minded men and women are the professionals who dig into chaotic legal structures with sleeves rolled up and push and prod for genuine progress. They are champions of the art. IREX has benefited from their expertise on many occasions, and we look forward to more years of cooperation in a great cause — media freedom."
— W. Robert Pearson, career diplomat and expert in international affairs; President, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), 2008 to present; U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 2000-2003; Director General of the U.S. Foreign Service, 2003-2006.
This creative and engaging collection of essays on freedom of speech and press abroad transcends national boundaries and the barriers imposed both by legal doctrine and governmental constraint. The central theme of Exporting the Matrix is an eloquent appeal to repressive and benighted censors to seek freer and more open exchange of ideas, views and values. At a time of confusion (indeed chaos) in many parts of the world, this book offers a strikingly hopeful message from a group of eminent authors, drawn from their rich worldwide media experience."
— Robert O'Neil, prominent First Amendment scholar; President, University of Virginia, 1985-1990; founder and director, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Freedom of Expression (1990-2011).
This collection of essays from around the world reminds us how much the recent Arab Spring owes to the ability of ordinary people to express publicly their views and demands for change. An expression of dissent that started in Tunisia rippled across the region carried by a wave of voices of so many people who are demanding their democratic rights."
— Richard J. Goldstone, appointed by President Nelson Mandela as a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, 1996-2003; first chief prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, 1994-1996.
This collection of very personal essays by media law experts reminds us that the spirit of free speech is alive and kicking the world over. Unfortunately, so is the urge of those in power to stifle dissident. But the experience of these authors show that the right kind of legal intervention really can help curb censorship and enable a free media. Chronicling examples from Japan to Bosnia to Qatar, and recalling successes as well as failures (as much is learnt from the latter as the former), this book inspires. As Darian Pavli, author of the foreword and himself provider as well as erstwhile recipient of pro bono legal advice, says, international legal experts were once defined as 'those who come from afar'. But the experiences collected here show that so long as they come armed with experience, a solid legal analysis and are sensitive to local context, their contribution will go very far. And along the way, the 'experts' themselves are invariably reminded why they became lawyers themselves. A rewarding read."
— Peter Noorlander, Chief Executive, Media Legal Defence Initiative, London; prominent international media and human rights lawyer.
One of our nation's most treasured creations is its First Amendment protections of freedom of expression. It is also one of our most meaningful exports. In this enlightening and uplifting publication, senior American lawyers describe their dedicated and sensitive efforts in participating, throughout the world, in pro-freedom international media reform. One need not be senior, a lawyer, or an American to honor their extraordinary contributions or to be fascinated by their well-told experiences."
— Floyd Abrams, pre-eminent First Amendment lawyer, handled major press freedom cases in the U.S. Supreme Court; author of Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment.
Exporting the Matrix is more than a primer on how to effectively advocate for broader free expression rights in other countries. Collectively, the essays also serve as an important reflection on the successes and failures of a generation of individuals who have dedicated much of their lives to working on an incredibly complex problem. That is, the book should certainly inform the types of programs—and the contours of their policy goals—that international organizations support in the future as they seek to provide journalists around the globe with greater press freedoms. In this regard, although the essayists were looking back on their efforts, the collection outlines a path forward on how future campaigns might be more effective and ultimately enhance press freedoms abroad ... Exporting the Matrix is not just for those interested in working abroad to expand press freedoms. The captivating stories and the insights gleaned from the reflections of these free speech pioneers serve as a meaningful reminder of the hard work, deft lawyering, and careful drafting that went into establishing the broad and, in many ways, unparalleled press freedoms that U.S. journalists enjoy."
— Communications Lawyer