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Hate Speech and Fake News How Far Should the Law Go?


Feb 24 2024 to Feb 24 2024 11:30 a.m.



Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Recent months have seen increasingly fraught debates over the pros and cons of limiting or prohibiting free speech to counter the effects of hateful expression, on the one hand, and false or misleading messages (often described as ‘fake news’), on the other, especially on social media and other online platforms. Some governments have already imposed wide-ranging curbs on freedom of expression and justified such restrictions as necessary for societal peace and harmony. But free speech advocates have argued that sweeping legislative measures to tackle hate speech and ‘fake news’ raise serious concerns, including well-founded fears that they may result in silencing dissent and discouraging free and frank democratic debate. The subject presents formidable challenges on many fronts, including legal, political, cultural and social. There is clearly a need for careful, calm and intelligent thinking on appropriate responses. Such responses will have to be multi-pronged and will have to include legal/regulatory actions as well as those based on ethical norms, education and persuasion. This lecture by Dr Venkat Iyer will attempt to throw light on key issues relevant to an understanding of both the problem and possible solutions. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Speaker Venkat Iyer Barrister-at-Law, UK Dr Venkat Iyer is a barrister and academic based in Northern Ireland. He is attached to the School of Law at Ulster University where, in addition to being Director of Educational Partnerships and International Affairs, he teaches media law, constitutional law, and business law. Dr Iyer has been in legal practice since 1981 and is, among other things, a trained mediator. Between 2008-15 Dr Iyer served as Law Commissioner for Northern Ireland. A former Nuffield Press Fellow at Cambridge University, Dr Iyer has lectured in a number of foreign universities, including Meiji University (Japan), University of Melbourne (Australia), Tsinghua University (China), Fordham University (USA), University of Malaya, International Islamic University of Malaysia (Malaysia), University of Bombay (India), and Soochow University (Taiwan), and continues to be a visiting professor in several institutions. In 2003-2004 – and again in 2012 – he was invited by the Royal Government of Bhutan to advise on, and draft, media laws for that kingdom. In 2007, he was appointed a consultant by the World Bank to design a programme on Continuing Legal Education for the Kenyan Bar. In 2011, he was asked to review the Broadcasting Act in Vanuatu and to recommend changes to the media law regime in that country. Since 2012 he was consulted by the Burmese government on a wide range of media law related matters. Dr Iyer runs training courses on media law and media ethics for newspapers and media organisations around the world. He has also been engaged in designing and delivering capacity building programmes for judges and magistrates in various jurisdictions, and frequently runs judicial training programmes. Dr Iyer is the author of a number of books and articles, and the editor of two journals, The Commonwealth Lawyer and The Round Table: Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, both published from London.

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