Freedom of Expression

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The Facebook Oversight Board Made the Right Call on the Trump Suspension

The Facebook Oversight Board’s decision on the ‘indefinite suspension’ of Trump’s account has provoked a storm of commentary, akin to a landmark judgment of a national or international court. Much of that commentary is understandably focused on the bottom line: that Facebook was justified, at the time it made its decision, to suspend Trump’s account because he incited or encouraged the violent insurrection at the US Capitol, but that the penality that it imposed – indefinite suspension – was not provided for in Facebook’s rules and was thus arbitrary. The OB thus effectively remanded the case to Facebook, asking the company to either issue a time-limited suspension or to permanently ban Trump from the platform. This was, in my view, the right approach to take – even more so because of the Board’s overall methodology and reasoning. Much can be said about the substance of the decision, but here are some preliminary points that I thought were particularly striking: 1) The OB bases its decision almost entirely in international…

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Should the ECtHR Invoke Article 17 for Disinformation Cases?

Increasingly, legal debates surrounding disinformation in Europe have questioned how this problem can be tackled while preserving fundamental rights to freedom of expression. Under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), freedom of expression is protected. Throughout the extensive Article 10 jurisprudence in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), it has been well established…

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part II

Part I of this series examined attribution as the first element of cyber election interference as an internationally wrongful act, and then looked at the prohibition of intervention as a possible primary rule that such interference can breach. Now, in Part II, I will examine the possible breaches of the obligation to respect sovereignty and of international human…

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Challenging the Olympic Charter at the Swiss OECD National Contact Point

In January 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued guidelines to clarify the content of the controversial Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter (OC). Rule 50 prohibits any ‘kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’. It was introduced to the OC during the 1970s, following one of…

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Can a Peaceful Protest Ever be Banned Because Others Threaten It with Violence?

What do you think, dear readers, that the answer to the question above should be under international human rights law? Any comments would be very much appreciated. To start us off, let me write out a hypo; imagine we are in happier times before (or after) Covid: Krakatowia is a country in which LGBT rights…

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