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.

Joint statement: 5 demands for an ambitious European Democracy Action Plan
18.09.2020 8 min read

Joint statement: 5 demands for an ambitious European Democracy Action Plan

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Kenya: Official Secrets Act incompatible with freedom of expression standards
14.09.2020 8 min read

Kenya: Official Secrets Act incompatible with freedom of expression standards

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Myanmar: As campaign period begins, freedom of expression violations ramp up
10.09.2020 7 min read

Myanmar: As campaign period begins, freedom of expression violations ramp up

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Myanmar: Government order to block campaign website is a dangerous escalation of online censorship
02.09.2020 3 min read

Myanmar: Government order to block campaign website is a dangerous escalation of online censorship

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UN Human Rights Council: Convene a Special Session to address human rights violations committed in Belarus

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Iran’s July Internet Disruptions are a Human Rights Concern
17.08.2020 4 min read

Iran’s July Internet Disruptions are a Human Rights Concern

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Pakistan: Online Harms Rules violate freedom of expression
13.08.2020 12 min read

Pakistan: Online Harms Rules violate freedom of expression

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Malaysia: Police raid on Al Jazeera offices over migrant documentary is a blow to press freedom
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Malaysia: Police raid on Al Jazeera offices over migrant documentary is a blow to press freedom

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Slovakia: Renewed calls for justice ahead of Ján Kuciak murder verdict
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Slovakia: Renewed calls for justice ahead of Ján Kuciak murder verdict

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