Human Rights Here: Article 17 of the ECHR and the Run-Down to Lenis v Greece

By Natalie Alkiviadou Introduction Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), commonly referred to as the ‘abuse clause,’ provides that: “Nothing in [the] Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the […]

The Daily Beast: PEN America Is Right to Stay Out of Gaza War Activism

By Jacob Mchangama In January 2015, Islamic terrorists murdered 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for depicting the Prophet Muhammad. When PEN America honored the magazine with its Freedom of Expression Courage Award that same year, the organization received backlash from prominent members. Then-PEN president Andrew Solomon stood by the decision, saying that the controversy was a reminder that […]

Reason: Should Free Speech Pessimists Look to Europe?

By Jacob Mchangama Free speech pessimism is on the rise among America’s elites. “Free Speech Is Killing Us,” read a 2019 op-ed in The New York Times. Recently, an article in The New York Times Magazine concluded, “It’s time to ask whether the American way of protecting free speech is actually keeping us free.” George Washington University Law […]

Tech Policy Press: Digital Services Act Roundup: February – March 2024

By Jordi Calvet-Bademunt Overview: The Digital Services Act (DSA), Europe’s online safety rulebook, finally became applicable to all companies on February 17, 2024. Until then, it only applied to the so-called very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs). February 17th was also the date EU Member States were required to designate […]

Persuasion: How to Fight Misinformation Without Censorship

By Jacob Mchangama 2024 is a pivotal year for the future of global democracy, as some two billion—about half the adult population of the globe—will have the chance to vote. Even though more people will cast a ballot in 2024 than any previous year, the prevailing mood seems more fearful than celebratory. In the words of […]

WSJ: J.K. Rowling Is Right to Protest Hate-Speech Laws

By Jacob Mchangama Should J.K. Rowling face criminal charges for misgendering someone on social media? In March, transgender British TV personality India Willoughby reported the “Harry Potter” author to the police for posting that “India didn’t become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.” Willoughby was about a month […]

Reason: Free Speech Is Under Attack in the U.S., but It’s on the Ropes Elsewhere

“Even open democracies have implemented restrictive measures,” finds a global report. By J.D. Tuccille [ . . . ] If you think free speech is under attack in the United States—and it is—you should see its besieged status in the rest of the world. Open contempt for unrestricted debate prevails in even many supposedly “free” […]

Schweizer Monat: Censorship Doesn’t Prevent Hatred

By Jacob Mchangama 2023 was a disastrous year for free speech in liberal democracies. Unfortunately, 2024 only promises to deepen the free speech recession that has been sweeping open societies for years. On October 7th 2023, Hamas operatives carried out the deadliest single attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Some 1,200 people were killed including […]

amaBhungane: There is a Global Free Speech Recession and South Africa is not immune

By Jacob Mchangama and Caroline James A new Bill working its way through the South African Parliament has the potential to dramatically alter the freedom of speech environment in the country. The General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill (Gilab) threatens to introduce security vetting of individuals and institutions ‘of national security interest’ and creates a bulk […]

Tech Policy Press: Digital Services Act Roundup – July 2023 – January 2024

Background. The European Commission has been busy at work since the entry of the Digital Services Act (DSA) into force in November 2022. The DSA aims to create “a safe, predictable and trusted online environment.” To do so, it imposes a number of due process, transparency, and due diligence obligations on online companies, referred to by the law […]