Should Political Speech Be Prohibited When It Involves Lies?
5 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2022
Date Written: November 15, 2022
No one doubts the power of false political information or narratives to change thinking and outcomes in politics. In 2019, the Supreme Court of Switzerland overturned a referendum result, on the grounds that electors had been given misleading information. Following President Trump’s baseless attacks on the US electoral system in the 2020 Presidential election, no less than 361 bills had been introduced by April 2021 seeking to restrict ballot access. In the 2016 US Presidential election, false stories relating to the two candidates were shared at least 38 million times on Facebook, with over half of Americans who recalled seeing the statements believing them. As Hannah Arendt pointed out exactly 50 years ago, ‘lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear’. What remedies does, and should, the law provide to deter political liars, and negate the effects of the spread of their falsehoods?
Keywords: Policitcal Speech, Lies, Fake News, Defamation, false statements, election fraud
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