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Developments in Arab media laws


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Brief overview of my research including post-Arab Spring developments including cybercrime, anti-terrorism, and anti-hate speech laws. Discussion of search for "global norms" in communication by looking at regional court rulings, international bodies and NGOs.

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Developments in Arab media laws

  1. 1. A B R I E F C O M P A R A T I V E A N A L Y S I S B Y M A T T J . D U F F Y , P H . D . K E N N E S A W S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y K E N N E S A W , G A . A U S A C E A T A E J M C S A T U R D A Y , A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 5 Arab Media Laws
  2. 2. Do global norms exist?  Obviously, debatable.  I would argue yes. See, for instance, health codes  But, how to draft them for communication?  Look at regional courts  Inter-American Court of Human Rights  European Court of Human Rights  African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights  Look at global bodies  United Nations  OSCE  NGOs such as Amnesty International, HRW, FH RWB  ICCPR treaty
  3. 3. Defamation – libel and slander  Protection of reputation  Arab (penal & media) laws differ in three ways from international norms  1) Criminal vs. Civil  2) Truth as defense for defamation  3) Public figures should receive less defamation protection than private figures
  4. 4. Other broad norms  Insult laws incompatible with free speech  Public order, national security laws should be narrowly tailored so not abused  Licensing of journalists suppresses good journalism  False news laws while noble can hamper reporting  Google: “Arab Media Laws” and Duffy
  5. 5. Since 2011: Cybercrime Laws  Qatar, UAE both updated these laws post-Arab Spring  Cover digital communication, vague defamation provisions  Article 29: Illegal to “damage the reputation, prestige or stature of the state.”  UAE used against family members tweeting about a sedition law  Saudi Arabia used against Raif Badawi, who received 1,000 lashes punishment for liberal website
  6. 6. Since 2011: Anti-terrorism laws  National security is obviously important  If public order not protected nothing else can be  SCOTUS tends to side with gov’t vs. free speech in terrorism cases  Critics worry that they are too broad, squelch legitimate criticism  E.g., Jordan shut down an Iraqi television station, citing anti- terrorism law.  Journalists at station had criticized Iraqi leader
  7. 7. Anti-discrimination/anti-hate laws  New development  UAE just passed “anti-hate” law:  Criminalizes any acts that stoke religious hatred  Criminalizes any act that insults religion  Punishes anyone for terming other religious groups or individuals as infidels, or unbelievers  Makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of religion, caste, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin  Prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred
  8. 8. Anti-hate speech/anti-discrimination laws  US doesn’t have laws against hate speech  Line drawn at calls for “imminent lawless actions.”  Many countries do: Most of Europe  No global norm yet  Anti-discrimination laws  Probably a global norm  Can’t says “whites only” in a job ad.  Problem with new UAE law? Potential misuse  Dubai’s security chief accused a Saudi public figure of “hate speech” for criticizing UAE’s Yemen policies.  “Criticizing is one thing, spreading hate is another.”
  9. 9. The End!  Find slides and published paper on:  Email: @mattjduffy