Clear and Present Danger podcast: UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye (Special Edition)

October 28, 2019

In this special edition of Clear and Present Danger, we leave the past and jump into the present for a discussion on how international human rights standards are relevant to the burning question of where to draw the limits of free speech online. Joining us is law professor David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Kaye is also the author of the recent book “Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet.” On Oct. 21, Kaye presented a report to the UN General Assembly that attempts to provide guidance to both states and tech companies on how to safeguard free expression online while minimizing harms. 

Our conversation delves into questions such as:

  • What is the state of free speech today?
  • Why is a historical perspective crucial to understanding current challenges to free expression?
  • How do we reconcile the conflicting standards on free expression and hate speech under international human rights law?
  • How has the UN human rights system developed standards that are more speech-protective than the European human rights system?
  • Why has the digital era resulted in more, rather than fewer, restrictions on free speech globally?
  • Should tech companies base their community standards on human rights principles?
  • Do attempts by European democracies like Germany and France to limit online hate speech create a risk of “moderation without representation” for users of social media platforms in the US and elsewhere?
  • How should we assess Mark Zuckerberg’s recent speech on free expression at Georgetown University?

Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall.

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