RightsCon: Silencing the silenced? The impact of takedown legislation on civil liberties and victims of human rights abuses

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Date and Time: June 8, 11:45 am – 12:45 pm Eastern Time

Facilitator: Jacob Mchangama

Speakers (all three have confirmed):

  1. Nighat Dad (Member – Oversight Board and Executive Director – Digital Rights Foundation)
  2. Barbora Bukovská (Senior Director of Law and Policy, Article 19)
  3. Professor Evelyn Aswad (Professor of Law and Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, University of Oklahoma)
  4. Guilherme Canela Godoi (Chief, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists at UNESCO)

About the event:

Countries around the world have passed legislation that requires the expeditious removal of certain content. While these legislations are supposedly well-intentioned, courts and civil society
have repeatedly questioned their adherence to the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality under Article 19 ICCPR. These legislations often lead to the wrongful removal of
legitimate content that may be legal, but offensive to the ruling dispensation or other sections.

This content ranges from videos of police brutalities, evidence of States’ use of illegal force, images of breast cancer, or other accounts of victims of human rights abuses. We’ll open the session with an audience poll to find out how many participants have had a post removed from social media. Using live chat, participants would share examples when a social media platform took down something that they (or someone they know) posted. It could be anything – from a picture of a wounded protestor, a video of an abusive police officer, or a sarcastic tweet mocking an extremist leader. Our panellists will then contemplate the possible reasons for the removal – was it an AI misjudging context, or was it willful censorship?

Many of these restrictive legislations, such as the NetzDG and Pakistan’s Citizen’s Protection Rules were designed without satisfactory consultation with stakeholders. This session at
RightsCon 2021 is an opportunity for lawyers, human rights activists, journalists, technologists, business leaders and other internet users to engage in a dialogue about the impact of takedown
legislations and the ideal framework for removing harmful online content.

Read more and sign up here.

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