Jonathan Peters, head of the Department of Journalism at Grady College and an associate professor who shares a dual appointment with the University of Georgia School of Law, has been appointed to the OSCE-ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.
The panel is part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). It serves as an advisory body to the OSCE and its participating countries in developing and maintaining legislation regarding the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.
“I’m excited and honored to serve on the panel,” Peters said. “It plays an important role in the OSCE region, and it will be really gratifying as a form of public service to promote the OSCE’s human-rights commitments. The work couldn’t be more urgent, with assembly and association under duress all around the world.”
The OSCE region includes 57 countries in Europe, Asia, and North America. There are 16 members of the Panel of Experts, and they serve four-year terms and represent a geographic cross-section of the OSCE. Peters is one of two panelists from the United States. The others are from Germany, Poland, Spain, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Armenia, among other places.
Peters specializes in media law and policy, and one focus of his work is press rights at protests. He also conducts international and comparative research in media law, and he is the author of articles about global free expression and European press regulation. He has written columns about First Amendment issues for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Esquire, Wired, and the Columbia Journalism Review, where he was the press freedom correspondent for six years.
Peters has been a consultant to numerous international organizations on issues related to free assembly. In 2017 and 2018, he worked with OSCE and ODIHR to analyze how their Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly could be revised to clarify and strengthen legal protections for the press at protests.
More recently, Peters served as a consultant to the U.N. Development Programme and the U.S. Agency for International Development, focusing on press rights and court access in Uzbekistan. He also submitted written guidance to the U.N. Human Rights Committee to inform its drafting of General Comment No. 37, adopted in 2020 as the first authoritative interpretation of Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (it guarantees the right of peaceful assembly). Last year, Peters worked with the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law to develop a guide to collect data about digitally-mediated assemblies.
Peters began his term on the OSCE-ODIHR Panel of Experts on January 1.