Title: Redefining freedom of speech in the digital environment from an EU law perspective

Authors: Philippe Jougleux

Addresses: School of Law, European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenous St, Engomi 2404, Cyprus

Abstract: This paper discusses the freedom of expression in the digital environment from an EU law perspective. The author proposes to apprehend it as an autonomous concept. In the first part, the general legal regulation of online freedom of expression is analysed, with reference to the three-part test and the specific case of hate speech. In the second part, the paper uses copyright law as a case study of how balancing of rights is applied by the courts, with reference to the mechanism of blocking orders. However, the author regrets the lack of reference to freedom of expression in the recent discussion about the qualification of hyperlinks as communication to the public. In the third part, three characteristics of online freedom of expression are addressed: the application between individuals (horizontal effect), the intermediaries' protection and the principle of neutrality.

Keywords: freedom of expression; internet; social media; law; copyright; intermediary; interference; hate speech; blocking order; internet neutrality.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2019.103728

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2019 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.401 - 417

Received: 01 Apr 2018
Accepted: 16 Aug 2018

Published online: 20 Nov 2019 *

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