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.

Albania: Media must not be prosecuted for public interest reporting
23.09.2022 5 min read

Albania: Media must not be prosecuted for public interest reporting

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Senegal: Rise in censorship and crackdown on expression
22.09.2022 5 min read

Senegal: Rise in censorship and crackdown on expression

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Europe: Journalists speak of the devastating impact of SLAPPs
20.09.2022 7 min read

Europe: Journalists speak of the devastating impact of SLAPPs

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Kyrgyzstan: Release journalist held on charges of inciting ‘ethnic hatred’
09.09.2022 4 min read

Kyrgyzstan: Release journalist held on charges of inciting ‘ethnic hatred’

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Iran: Cyberspace authorities ‘silently’ usher in draconian internet bill
09.09.2022 8 min read

Iran: Cyberspace authorities ‘silently’ usher in draconian internet bill

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Turkey: Restore independent newspaper’s right to publish public advertising
26.08.2022 5 min read

Turkey: Restore independent newspaper’s right to publish public advertising

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Ukraine: Six months into the war, a safe, supported media remains vital
24.08.2022 5 min read

Ukraine: Six months into the war, a safe, supported media remains vital

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Malaysia: Ismail Sabri’s government is undermining fundamental freedoms
23.08.2022 19 min read

Malaysia: Ismail Sabri’s government is undermining fundamental freedoms

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Blog: How lèse-majesté laws are eroding free speech in Southeast Asia
19.08.2022 10 min read

Blog: How lèse-majesté laws are eroding free speech in Southeast Asia

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