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 India and beyond, as well.
As the Internet has provided states (and corporates) with evergrowing surveillance capacities, it is crucial that this power is balanced by strong protections of the right to freedom of expression of Internet users. The balance between state powers and citizens rights has, after all, always been the hallmark of a democracy. But the Internet has also thrown up its own share of challenges for free speech: hate speech, the verbal online abuse of women and the use of the Internet to spread rumours of violence all have emerged as important concerns in India. When, then, is it justified for the government to intervene? When can and should the law play a role? What can be expected from Internet intermediaries, such as social networks and ISPs — if anything at all? And what can people do to protect the right to free speech — their own and that of others?
To balance freedom of expression with other human rights at times is a difficult and delicate task. We investigate challenges that make this task particularly complicated, and by shedding greater light on these and their internal mechanics, aim to contribute to further promoting and strengthening the right to freedom of expression, in India and beyond.