iDEFA - Internet Democracy Issues

Internet Democracy Issues

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Freedom of expression

To balance freedom of expression with other human rights is, at times, a difficult and delicate task. From hate speech to intermediary liability, we tease out and shed greater light on the various challenges that make this task particularly complicated, proposing ways forward that can further strengthen and promote the right to freedom of expression, in Uganda and beyond, as well.

Gender, free speech, censorship

Censorship on the Internet is frequently justified by concerns to safeguard morality or protect women. But do existing laws and initiatives support women in actual practice in confronting the considerable challenges that they face online? We investigate.

Hate speech

Online speech that is offensive, abusive or hateful has attracted great attention in Uganda and elsewhere, and often leads to calls for its criminalization. But while the right to freedom of expression is subject to reasonable restrictions both under Ugandan law and international law, these are fairly narrowly defined, and much of what might be considered hate speech socially is not necessarily so legally. How, then, to deal with and move forward on this difficult and sensitive issue?

The impact of criminal law

Be it online or offline, the illegitimate criminalization of freedom of expression is one of the biggest threats to the right to freedom of expression. We analyze its impact on freedom of expression online and the free and open Internet in general. We also look at the particular consequences criminal law in Uganda in particular has had in this regard, examining not only Internet-specific laws, such as those regarding intermediate liability, but laws that predate the Internet as well.

Cyber security, surveillance and human rights

With the advent of new technology, new security threats have emerged for people, businesses and states. Oftentimes, responses to such threats, including states’ exercise of their unprecedented power to surveil their populations, have been criticized for their negative impact on human rights. Can security and human rights no longer be reconciled in the Internet age?