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School of Law

SOLM212 Illegal Speech, Censorship and Digital Rights: Social Media vs "Old Media"

Module Description

This digital revolution has had an enormous impact on fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and privacy (and personality rights more widely), and on concepts such as identity, autonomy and agency online. The Module will analyse (1) how the law protects these rights and balances them with the rights of others; (2) whether new fundamental rights should be recognized online and (3) how the law balances potential harms online with these rights. The Module will examine the relationship between law, technology and behaviour. It has a practical dimension by looking at liability relating to online communication and the management of that risk and by examining how these existing and emerging rights can be enforced (including for example the disclosure of a pseudonymous identity). It has a theoretical, law & policy dimension by examining concepts such as identity, privacy and autonomy and how these concepts relate to the law. It will compare traditional approaches to (offline) media regulation and how they relate to new phenomena on social media. The Module therefore examines traditional approaches to content regulation on "old" media and how these censorship regime(s) is challenged by new media, reflecting on how the law needs to adapt to "cope" with new (and ever evolving) technologies and business practices. As in traditional media regulation, this encapsulates administrative, civil and criminal law approaches to content regulation and censorship.

Applicable Groupings


30 Credits

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