The Price Media Law Moot Court Competition was organised in 2008 as an annual global moot court competition ‘for raising the profile of freedom of expression by bringing informed and effective debate and discussion on significant issues of information flows and technology to many parts of the world’ by the Program in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford. The competition is named after the Founding Director of the program, Monroe E. Price.
The international rounds of the 11th edition of the competition took place this year from April 9-13. A total of 42 teams including Australia, China, Egypt, Iran, Latvia, Lebanon, Singapore, Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, USA, Bangladesh etc. from different regions of the world took part in the international round. Distinguished lawyers, academics and practitioners served as the judges of the competition while the grand finale was adjudicated by former and sitting judges of international courts.
A team representing University of Dhaka (DU) qualified in the regional rounds held in Delhi, India to represent Bangladesh at the global round. The team comprised of Meherba Sabrin, Tanzim Mohammed, Mahera Binte Rafiq as mooters and Md. Abdullah Al Jahid as the researcher, all of them being students of Department of Law, DU. Ms. Arpeeta Shams Mizan, Lecturer, Department of law, DU coached the team for the competition. They argued on quite a complex moot compromise which involved fake news, free speech and the regulation of social media, before distinguished benches of judges. Their quality of arguments and depth of research were highly praised by the judges.
Besides taking part in the competition, the team attended various learning sessions and workshops. On the first day, a mooting master class was conducted by Sarah Phillimore. They also witnessed the launching of UNESCO’s flagship publication- World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development by Nicole Stremlau and Monroe E. Price with Omar Al-Ghazzi from LSE commenting on the same.
David Caragliano, Max Slackman, and Monika Bickert from Facebook hosted a Q&A session while Timothy Garton Ash hosted a discussion on the topic- Free Speech in a Connected World. Moreover, two special events also allowed the participants to speak with the drafters of the Compromis (David Caragliano) and the Bench Memorandum (ThiagoAlves Pinto), as well as to have an informal discussion with the distinguished judges of the grand finale round.
All these sessions and interactions were great learning opportunities for the Bangladeshi mooters and helped them gain informed views on various thought-provoking legal issues of current times pertaining to the theme of the competition.The team intends to implement the takeaways from this entire experience and positively contribute to the discourse on the development of freedom of speech, a fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
The writer is a mooter of Dhaka University Moot Court Society.