Internet as a Public Space for Freedom of Expression: Myth or Reality?

10 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017

Date Written: February 27, 2017


This article examines the stature of internet as a modern public space for demonstration of one’s freedom of expression. It opines that the numerous benefits internet provides as a public space for individuals’ nourishment of freedom of expression are curtailed by its private ownership. So much so, that internet is no more the open field for free expression that many predicted it would be. It further explores the approaches taken by the US and European Union in encouraging private regulators to restrict free speech rights in the online world according to their own whims. Courts’ role in this regard is explored briefly which in effect is also a mere disappointment. This article then seeks to rebut the defensive grounds taken by states and courts in failing to provide sufficient protection to fundamental freedoms in the internet arena. While arguing the importance of cyberspace as a genuine forum for public discourse of present century, it would be asserted that internet should also be regulated by free speech principles and protected by human rights regimes. It has all the elements of a ‘public sphere’ so it should be given the same level of protection as provided in the offline world.

Keywords: internet, human rights, public space, freedom of expression

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Abbasi, Sara, Internet as a Public Space for Freedom of Expression: Myth or Reality? (February 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

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