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.

07.03.2019 7 min read

Myanmar: Human Rights Council must hold the line on freedom of expression, rights violations

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25.01.2019 6 min read

Russia: New bills criminalising insults to the State and spread of ‘fake news’ threaten freedom of expression

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11.01.2019 5 min read

Malaysia: Proposal to reform laws to protect royals’ reputation threaten freedom of expression

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11.01.2019 4 min read

Myanmar: Yangon court upholds conviction of Reuters journalists

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Open letter: Response to Google on Project Dragonfly, China and human rights
11.12.2018 13 min read

Open letter: Response to Google on Project Dragonfly, China and human rights

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03.12.2018 12 min read

Thailand: Drop defamation complaints against rights defenders

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Event: Russia, Internet censorship and the impact of German legislation
21.11.2018 2 min read

Event: Russia, Internet censorship and the impact of German legislation

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03.10.2018 8 min read

Nicaragua: Arrest and deportation of US-Austrian journalist shows escalating pressure on press freedom

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27.09.2018 3 min read

Kenya: Court rules to temporarily remove ban on Rafiki film

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