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Internet, Private Governance and Protection of Free Speech: Current European Perspective

  • It has become a truism that the Internet gives a range of private actors, such as social media, substantial power. They are thus able to control the communication processes, hold considerable authority over shaping opinions, and become the arbiters of free speech. That is why legal scholars and policymakers are searching for legal tools that would ensure a fair balance between the conflicting rights of these two groups of private actors (platforms and their users). The aim of this presentation would be to reconsider the relationship between individuals and online platforms, analyze how horizontal online conflicts may be resolved (giving examples of some national legislation and EU proposal concerning digital services), and answer the question if the discretion of the platforms can be limited in order to protect rights and freedoms. The theoretical framework of the analysis would be the doctrine of the State’s positive obligations, as established in the current European Court of Human Rights case law. The main argument would be that it is necessary to strengthen the public supervision over Internet platforms, in particular the way they resolve horizontal conflicts. The possibility of limiting their discretion, in order to provide individual protection, does not mean however creating the unlimited right of access to the platform in order to express any opinion or view (freedom of forum).

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Author:Adam Krzywon
Document Type:Public lecture
Year of Completion:2021
Date of first Publication:2021/11/13
Publishing Institution:Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung
Creating Corporation:Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, USA
Contributing Corporation:The George Washington University Law School, Washington DC, USA
Release Date:2021/12/03
Access Rights:Frei zugänglich
Documents of the German Research Institute for Public Administration (FÖV):Akzeptierte Vorträge (wiss. Konferenzen)
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International