Freedom of expression has undergone fundamental changes with the advent of the internet, bringing along unparalleled prospects as well as intricate hurdles. Let’s explore how this technology has influenced freedom of expression:
Thanks to the internet, individuals can now reach a GLOBAL audience instantly with their self-expression. Social media platforms, blogs and online forums offer opportunities for people to showcase their creative works, thoughts and opinions worldwide without being limited by geographical or cultural boundaries.
In this weeks readings, The question was posited “How have freedom of expression issues, especially those related to freedom of press and speech, evolved in the digital age”(https://www.fordfoundation.org/news-and-stories/stories/protecting-free-speech-in-the-digital-age-qa-with-un-special-rapporteur-for-freedom-of-expression/)?
And David Kaye responded- “The digital age has fundamentally allowed for any voice to capture an audience, expanding our options to many more communications platforms and outlets beyond mainstream media outlets”(https://www.fordfoundation.org/news-and-stories/stories/protecting-free-speech-in-the-digital-age-qa-with-un-special-rapporteur-for-freedom-of-expression/). I think that is really the salient point here.
Diversifying perspectives is something that the internet has also enabled via equal access to information and ideas, magnifying the voices of underrepresented communities while fostering a forum for diverse viewpoints. It’s emboldened individuals who’ve been ignored by mainstream media to share their stories and push for societal progress.
The advent of the internet has brought forth fresh obstacles to uphold freedom of expression, such as censorship and regulation by influential entities like governments and corporations. The approach towards content control adopted by several social media companies is a cause for worry due to its potential contribution in stifling opposing opinions, fueling discussions on striking an optimal equilibrium between free speech advocating interests versus constraint against detrimental material.
The boundaries between public and private spaces have as well, been blurred by the internet, leading to substantial privacy concerns. Exploitation of personal data by tech companies, government surveillance programs, and online harassment pose a threat to individual’s right to privacy and impede their freedom of expression out of fear for negative consequences.
The internet’s abundance of disinformation and misinformation presents a grave danger to democratic discourse and freedom of expression. The dissemination of inaccurate data, COUNTLESS conspiracies, and propaganda undermines trust in institutions, skews public deliberation, and compromises the integrity of democratic procedures.
In essence, to maintain a vibrant and inclusive internet space for expression in today’s digital era, it is imperative to prioritize and balance multiple values and rights. The utmost importance lies in upholding the freedom of expression as an imperative human right for both democracy and individual independence. Both governmental bodies and private organizations must give precedence to guarding individuals’ liberty to express themselves online without any bother while still adhering to sensible restrictions like preventing hate speech or incitement towards violence.
Though freedom of expression is a crucial right, it should be accompanied by acknowledgement of the influence that speech can have on people. For this reason, mechanisms must exist for rectifying damaging dialogue – such as harassment, threats or slander – with an aim to preserving decoroum in conversation and promoting goodwill among individuals within online forums.