Expressing yourself online: legal threats, and ways to defend against them

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Expressing yourself online: legal threats, and ways to defend against them
Presenter(s) Sophie Pollak
Organization(s) Media Legal Defence Intiative (MLDI)
Social media @mediadefence
2017 theme Internet Freedom: Present & Future

The internet has enabled individuals to share, interact with and challenge their news sources like never before. It has also lowered the threshold for the establishment of news outlets and the practising of journalism. However, the information sharing value of the internet has come increasingly under threat from often complex and uncertain laws on liability for content spread online. The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) proposes to take a look at the current legal threats facing freedom of expression online, and draw upon its own experience to highlight and discuss the options that are open to individuals to defend against these threats. The MLDI is an organisation that is dedicated to helping journalists, bloggers and independent media outlets around the world defend their rights.

The session will begin with MLDI presenting an overview of the legal threats currently facing freedom of expression online (e.g. intermediary liability, website blocking, cyber-crime legislation, defamation and privacy) and noticeable global trends.

The session will then look at ways in which individuals such as online publishers can defend against these legal threats, and the specific ways in which MLDI can help them do so. MLDI will also provide an insight into the cases they have litigated before domestic and international courts to demonstrate the ways in which they have used litigation to push for greater protection of bloggers, journalists and independent media online.

The session will then open up to a wider discussion with attendees on the threats facing free speech online, and the sharing of ideas on how civil society can work together to respond to these threats. It is hoped that attendees with come away from the session with a better understanding of how MLDI can fit in to this response.

Format Conversation
Target Groups Journalists, Advocacy/Policy Professionals, Academia, Front Line Activists, Lawyers, Website owners
Length 1 hour
Skill Level Novice
Language English

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