Censorship

In jurisdictions around the world, there are laws or administrative practices that can be abused to censor critical voices on- and offline.

Criminal defamation laws are easily abused by authorities to limit scrutiny and to stifle public debates, and are often used against journalists reporting on controversial issues, or members of the public expressing themselves online.

Equally, laws that criminalise so-called “false news” provide public authorities with a powerful instrument to control journalistic activities: allowing public officials to decide what counts as truth is tantamount to accepting that the forces in power have a right to silence any opposition.    Like ‘hate speech’ or terrorism, the notion of “fake news” is too vague to prevent subjective and arbitrary interpretation.

Laws that seek to deal with the dissemination of unlawful content on social media also often fail to comply with international standards, by being too broad and therefore encouraging social media platforms to over-censor.

While forms of censorship have evolved with the growth of the internet as a space for expression, efforts by states to restrict the right to freedom of opinion and expression through vague and broad provisions are still a frequent occurrence.

08.08.2019 6 min read

Turkey: New regulation and website blocks mark further assault on online freedoms

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30.07.2019 3 min read

Spain: Commit to reform restrictive criminal laws in upcoming UPR

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29.07.2019 3 min read

Kyrgyzstan: Threats to free expression must be addressed in UPR

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29.07.2019 7 min read

Turkey: Joint UPR submission on threats to freedom of expression

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09.07.2019 2 min read

Malaysia: Court extends sentence for criticism of royalty

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09.07.2019 4 min read

ARTICLE 19 urges Austrian court to halt ‘libel tourism’ case

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Iran: the State must be transparent about Internet disruptions
03.07.2019 9 min read

Iran: the State must be transparent about Internet disruptions

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01.07.2019 4 min read

UK: Online harms proposals are significant threat to free speech

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Iran’s Draft Data Protection Act: Too little but not too late
27.06.2019 10 min read

Iran’s Draft Data Protection Act: Too little but not too late

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