The International Islamic University Malaysia has emerged a the victor in the University of Oxfords first global media law mooting competition.
Eight teams and a total of 25 students from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Moscow and Malaysia mooted, submitted and argued for three days at Oxford about the publication of a cartoon in a fictitious country ruled by a corrupt politician.
Professor Munroe Price is the founder and co-director of the programme in comparative media law and policy at Oxford, which launched the global mooting challenge.
He said: Having a moot court in the UK or US might be described as a game, but doing it in a global way raises extremely basic questions about the rule of law and the role of lawyers in society.
Price said about the moot problem: The underlying thing is a sense and understanding of the principles of free expression in a complicated transitional society where there are conflicting national security issues.
The problem is built on a number of actual cases and brings to the fore the sensitive issues of the role of a journalist in societies where governments are under attack and have different religious values, he added.
The fictitious court was modelled on a universal freedom of expression court and judges included Judge Dean Spielmann from the European Court of Human Rights, London law firm Finer Stephens Innocent partner Mark Stephens, barrister Andrew Sharland of Grays Inn Square Chambers and readers editor of the Guardian Siobhan Butterworth.
The Oxford global moot will be an annual event, with the next cycle for applications starting around September 2008. The case problem will be published on the global moot website, written submissions from students around the world will be invited and evaluated and the teams will be selected to compete in Oxford around March 2009.
The competition is open to students in law and in journalism, although this year all competitors were law students.
Winners from International Islamic University Malaysia:
Rofitah Ahmad Fuad Noorima Fairuz Mohamad Noor Nur Ailyzurena Binti Alizuren Juriah Abd Jalil
Runners-up from Ivane Javakhishvili State University, Georgia:
George Sarajishvili David Khachvani Tatuli Todua Mariam Gotsiridze