freedom of expression

Namita Aavriti: Through a freedom of speech and privacy laws lens

Flavia Fascendini on 6 Apr 2014
Namita Aavriti of the Alternative Law Forum speaking on the petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on online pornography from the prism of freedom of speech and privacy laws. She was speaking at the "Tangled, Like Wool" meeting held in New Delhi on January 28, 2014 as a part of the EROTICS India project.

Join People Links Digital Gatherings to discuss technology related violence against women

on 14 Mar 2014
Join us on Thursday, March 27th from 6-7pm EST and 4-5 CT-MexDF to discuss technology related violence against women and the tensions that exist between combating hate speech versus the right to freedom of expression with Erika Smith from the APC's Women´s Rights Programme.

Our right to safety: Publication addresses women human rights defenders’ approach to protection

on 11 Mar 2014
AWID, in collaboration with members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, has developed this publication in an effort to assess the various mechanisms developed to provide protection to WHRDs at risk, including initiatives developed by national governments, and regional and international human rights bodies. The publication counts with a specific section addressing digital security and freedom of expression issues.

No easy reading

Alan Finlay on 29 Nov 2013
Nora Quebral (2012) - who is credited with coming up with the concept of 'development communication' in the early 70s - argued recently in an account of Asian domestic workers in the Middle East, and the right-to-drive protest by women in Saudi Arabia, that any analysis of rights is necessarily deeply contextual: “A tough question to answer would be: in which [of these two societies] do women have more equal rights to communicate and to develop?” (p63) While a universal rights-based discourse considers those rights inalienable, Quebral's point is that it difficult to analyse the extent that to which those rights are realised, and in doing so to build easy comparisons between different contexts.

Freedom of expression: Where do we set the lines

Francoise Mukuku on 7 Oct 2013
The second African Internet Governance Forum started in Nairobi, Kenya just a day after a terrorist attack was launched on this African country. The media reported 24 hours a day from the site of the attack; Twitter hashtags were created to make sure messages related to the crisis were passed on to the masses; and Facebook ready-to-use pictures of support to Kenya were circulated. It was actually a valuable experience for freedom expression defenders, as they were able to analyse how human beings exercised their rights in a time of shock and where the limit is set.

Women’s rights and threats to online freedom: reflections from the Freedom Online Conference 17 to 18 June 2013

Francoise Mukuku on 8 Jul 2013
From 17 to 18 June 2013 I took part in the conference on online freedom known as Freedom Online. This conference, carrying the same name of the coalition behind it, highlighted the continent in which it was hosted. In the midst of the international storm about surveillance and censorship, our specific focus was online freedom in Africa and the Arab world as Tunisia, like all of the Maghreb, has one foot in both worlds.

Transparency and accountability: Finding points of agreement following the #fbrape campaign

Shawna Finnegan on 13 Jun 2013
Last month a coalition of women's organisations led a campaign to hold Facebook accountable for its content policy. In particular, how it deals with hateful speech and representations of gender-based violence shared by its users. In response, freedom of expression advocates have expressed concern and criticism over the precedent set by demands for Facebook to remove hateful content from its site. This has spurred debate over gender-based hate speech, the interdependence of human rights, and the impact of sexist online culture. Debate over how to balance freedom of expression with the right to protection from incitement to discrimination is constantly being reframed in the context of new technologies and political realities. Despite this ongoing debate, there is clear space for agreement on the need for transparency and accountability in how Facebook and other internet intermediaries deal with abusive content, and takedown requests. This point has been made by advocates from a variety of backgrounds, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.

#fbrape is about gender-based hate speech, not about censorship

Chat Garcia Ramilo on 13 Jun 2013
On May 21 more than a hundred organisations lead by "Women, Action & the Media”:http://womenactionmedia.org/, the journalist Soraya Chemaly, and “The Everyday Sexism Project":http://www.everydaysexism.com/ started a campaign to “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook":http://www.womenactionmedia.org/facebookaction/. Within a week, "Facebook accepted":https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-safety/controversial-harmful-and-hateful-speech-on-facebook/574430655911054 weaknesses and lapses in implementing their policies and their own community standards and committed to take steps to improve their content policy in identifying and removal of gender-based violent content on their platform. But not all advocates of freedom on expression online celebrated with us, arguing that Facebook should not be in the business of censoring content even if it is hate speech. This is not a new debate. It is a debate that feminists, who care deeply about freedom of expression, have faced around issues of misogyny and gender-based violent content. What is new is how these arguments play out online. What is crystal clear to those of us who are backing this campaign is that this is not a call to counter the right of users to free expression. The network of women's organisations behind this action understand that internet freedoms are critical to asserting women's rights and are staunch advocates of freedom of expression online and offline.

The false paradox: freedom of expression and sexist hate speech

Margarita Salas on 10 Jun 2013
The campaign “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook” has re-opened up debate among internet rights advocates about the right to freedom of expression and responsibilities of internet intermediaries in regarding the content that circulates through their services. Margarita Salas, who is currently doing research consultancy of internet intermediaries corporate policies for APC's End Violence project, is looking in her blog at gender-based hate speech in the context of various international instruments and present couple of examples how to deal with cyber hate.

She's begging to be raped – Twitterverse for feminists in Pakistan!

Urooj Zia on 17 Dec 2012
‘She's begging to be raped.’ That's the response that many feminists in Pakistan get online from Pakistani men seeking to shut them up. This is a response from Pakistani men to women merely tweeting about issues related to sexualised violence.

Stories that need to be heard

Sonia Randhawa on 7 Dec 2012
Tonight, as I was thinking through this blog, my three-year-old offered to help. “It's not easy,” I warned her. “You see, there was a man who hurt a woman. He hurt her lots, and told her that if she didn't keep quiet, that he'd hurt her again. But she didn't keep quiet, and she told people her story.”

“A Facebook status can get you arrested faster than killing someone now”

Rafia Shaikh on 23 Nov 2012
In India, the largest democracy on Earth, 21-year old girl Shaheen Dhada was arrested for posting a status update on Facebook questioning the complete shutdown of cities for Bal Thackeray’s (rightwing leader notorious for inciting religious hatred and violence) funeral on Sunday, 18th November. Her friend Renu Srinivas was also arrested for “liking” the update which reportedly read: "People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a 'bandh' [shutdown] for that." 

IGF 2012: Day two in room four

Kateřina Fialová on 23 Nov 2012
What I most value about the IGF is that thanks to its multi-stakeholder principle, it widens my perspective on pressing internet governance issues. However, all three sessions I attended on day two in room number four, while talking about human rights, failed to include women's right perspective. Women internet users are important stakeholder and it is evident that even after six years of existence IGF still fails to engage them in equal footing with other stakeholders.

Women's take on internet governance: A selection of tweets from IGF 2012

Flavia Fascendini on 20 Nov 2012
This is a selection of the tweets circulated during the Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, from November 6-9 2012. They were selected following the criteria of its relevance in reflecting the discussions around women’s role in internet governance processes, as well as women’s and internet rights during the IGF.
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