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Online freedom of expression


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This session will look at challenges related to free speech online. We will address restrictions to freedom of expression from technological challenges (filters, surveillance techniques, blocking access to websites) to the introduction of new laws that curb digital freedom. We will also cover the increasing trend of takedown requests, the phenomenon of privatisation of censorship as well as threats, intimidation and violence against citizen journalists and bloggers. Through detailed case studies, participants will have the opportunity to explore the various implications of online censorship for media freedom. Case studies will include examples from countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Belarus, India and Brazil.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Online freedom of expression

  1. 1. Online freedom of expression Melody Patry @melodypatry! Senior advocacy officer, Index on Censorship! ! Boot Camp for Journalists! Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom! European University Institute! 11 June 2014! ! !
  2. 2. From click to brick   From the online world to the streets: Digital freedom of expression can help free expression in general! ! à Preventing critical speech online and restricting press freedom on the internet has becomes a way to control the environment for freedom of expression both online and offline!
  3. 3. New opportunities, new threats   §  Legal barriers: new laws to regulate online speech + criminal defamation and privacy laws used to chill online freedom of expression! ! §  Technological threats: filters, blocking access to websites, surveillance, hacking! §  Free speech debate: hate speech, blasphemy, obscenity and online abuse!
  4. 4. Criminalisation of online speech and social media  
  5. 5. Twitter ban: the Turkish experiment   AP  Photo  
  6. 6. Silencing critical voices   Political arrests, intimidation, “pulling the plug”! §  Case study - Azerbaijan: DDoS attacks, financial squeeze of independent media, arrests of journalists and activists under trumped up charges !  
  7. 7. Surveillance, cyber attacks and cyberbullying  
  8. 8. Various implications of mass surveillance for free speech! ! §  Case study – UK: pressure to destroy files provided by Snowden; destruction of computer hard disks in the basement of The Guardian’s offices + wrongful arrest of David Miranda under the UK’s Terrorism Act! “The protection of national security secrets must never be used as an excuse to intimidate the press into silence and backing off from its crucial work in the clarification of human rights violations.” ! ! Frank La Rue, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression!  
  9. 9. h'p://­‐files-­‐computer-­‐destroyed-­‐guardian-­‐gchq-­‐basement-­‐video    
  10. 10. New tool for journalists: Website to report and map out media freedom violations in Europe  
  11. 11. Reporting and mapping media freedom violations in Europe
  12. 12.       h'p://  
  13. 13.     h'p://    
  14. 14. Advocacy,  research  and  response  tool   §  Crowdsource  reporGng   §  VerificaGon/support   §  Alert  mechanism   §  Advocacy   §  Monitoring,  research