The primary objectives of the International Media Lawyers' Association (IMLA) are:

  • To create a network of media lawyers which will facilitate the sharing of information, strategies and expertise on media law and media freedom defense work. The network, to be known as the International Media Lawyers' Association, will function as a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and strategies on critical issues in media law and policy, such as flawed criminal and civil defamation laws, freedom of broadcasting, and political and financial censorship.
  • To develop a regional and international contacts-base that will enable its Members to draw on comparative experience and support each other in regional and national campaigns. The Association will provide the Members with professional support in addressing issues related to freedom of expression and information, and media law.
  • To promote public interest-oriented work by lawyers with a specialization in media freedom issues, including media law and related areas.
  • To assist the work of its Members in promoting the highest international standards on freedom of expression and information, including by raising awareness among media practitioners, the judiciary and the public at large.


The objectives of the Association are achieved through a range of activities to be carried out by its Membership and staff, including:

  • Sharing of information about activities and experiences among media lawyers and activists. This shall be a core activity of the Association; the Membership shall make reasonable efforts to contribute to this exchange of experiences, including by contributing material to the Association's email lists, website and other pertinent forums. The Coordinator of the Association shall be responsible for overseeing and enhancing the flow of information among the Membership.
  • Provision of expertise for training sessions and other activities organized for the professional advancement and education of media lawyers and policymakers. The Coordinator will assist Members in locating experts to participate in such events.
  • Creation of a website that will serve as an additional forum for information sharing. The website will be continuously updated by the Coordinator and the Membership. The editorial policy of the website will be determined by the Steering Committee.


Members shall contribute to the goals of the Association, including in the following ways:

  • by responding to requests for comparative expertise by other Members and by participating in exchanges of information on the Associationss "Medialaw" mailing list.
  • by contributing materials to the Association's website;
  • by organizing study visits by international and regional media law experts;
  • by providing expert opinions on draft legislation, litigation strategies and the like, when requested by other Members or partner organizations;
  • by supporting the advocacy efforts of other Members or free expression groups that are consistent with the goals of the association; and
  • by responding to requests for comparative expertise by other Members and by participating in exchanges of information on the Association's "Medialaw" mailing list.


The Association, as an international network of lawyers working in the areas of media law, media freedom and media policy, and committed to promoting and defending the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information, welcomes applications from lawyers working in these fields to join the Association. Other individuals working in the same areas, and committed to the same values, may apply for affiliate membership.

The Association was founded as an initiative by media lawyers in Eastern Europe and the CIS. In keeping with the goals of the Association of providing a forum for networking and the exchange of information, membership is open to media lawyers and others working on media freedom and freedom of information issues in any other region of the world.

The exact procedures and criteria for membership shall be decided by the Steering Committee, provided that these criteria conform to the principle that the Association is open to all individuals working in relevant fields, either full or part time, and that they are committed to the goals of the Association. The Steering Committee may develop procedures for expelling Members whose activities are flagrantly in opposition to the professional and human rights goals of the Association.