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Respecting Context: A New Deal for Free Speech in the Digital Era

European Journal of Law and Technology, 2012

38 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2012  

Argyro Karanasiou

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM), Business School; University of Leeds

Date Written: April 26, 2012

Abstract

This paper argues that our conventional approaches regarding the right to free speech seem outdated when applied online. While context plays a key part in free speech jurisprudence, law appears somehow non responsive to the digital context. To draw this conclusion, the free speech architecture of two jurisdictions is closely examined: Despite their ostensible differences, the First Amendment and the article 10 ECHR seem to have developed a common legal mechanism regarding the protective scope of the right to free speech.

In particular, they both define the right’s contours by adjusting its permissible limits within a given context. Ultimately, the two jurisdictions perform a balancing act in order to outline the level of protection reserved for this right. The paper traces and analyzes three of the most frequently evoked balancing parameters: space, property and state coercion. Eventually, it is demonstrated that all these three parameters are challenged in cyberspace; as a result they seem to be of little help for balancing online speech.

The paper therefore suggests adopting a new approach; digitizing our conventional human rights as the proper way of striking a fair balance for online free speech and ultimately placing rights in the appropriate context.

Keywords: free speech, internet, digitization, balancing rights, contextualization

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20, K30

Suggested Citation

Karanasiou, Argyro, Respecting Context: A New Deal for Free Speech in the Digital Era (April 26, 2012). European Journal of Law and Technology, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2089807

Argyro Karanasiou (Contact Author)

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM), Business School ( email )

89 Holdenhurst Road
Bournemouth
Dorset, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

University of Leeds ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.karanasiou.co.nr

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