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.

Cuba: Government must respect freedom of expression and the right to protest
15.07.2021 7 min read

Cuba: Government must respect freedom of expression and the right to protest

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Iran: Foiled plot to kidnap activist a sign of increasingly brazen transnational repression
14.07.2021 3 min read

Iran: Foiled plot to kidnap activist a sign of increasingly brazen transnational repression

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Blog: Apple says it cares about digital rights. Unless you’re in China.
13.07.2021 12 min read

Blog: Apple says it cares about digital rights. Unless you’re in China.

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Guinea: End the harassment of journalists and free expression activists
09.07.2021 11 min read

Guinea: End the harassment of journalists and free expression activists

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Rwanda: Implement UPR recommendations on free expression
09.07.2021 2 min read

Rwanda: Implement UPR recommendations on free expression

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Unplugged in Myanmar: Internet restrictions following the military coup
09.07.2021 3 min read

Unplugged in Myanmar: Internet restrictions following the military coup

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UN: States must embrace free expression to tackle disinformation
02.07.2021 3 min read

UN: States must embrace free expression to tackle disinformation

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Blog: A year of creeping darkness under the National Security Law in Hong Kong
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Blog: A year of creeping darkness under the National Security Law in Hong Kong

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Nigeria: Murder of journalist Titus Badejo must be investigated
28.06.2021 4 min read

Nigeria: Murder of journalist Titus Badejo must be investigated

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