Freedom of Speech in a Digital World

May 23, 2019
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Dr. Wanda Cassidy, Director of CELS and Associate Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, and Dr. Colette Langos, Senior Lecturer at University of Adelaide Law School in South Australia, gave a well-attended joint presentation at the recent 2018 National Law-Related Education Conference of the American Bar Association in Chicago (September 20-12, 2018). The title of the presentation was Freedom of Speech in a Digital World and asked the question: What are the challenges, education opportunities, and the role of government?

A paramount justification for infringing the right to freedom of speech, whether in a physical (‘offline’) or cyber (‘online’) context, is to prevent harm. This presentation discussed research into harmful online behaviours and the regulation thereof  - a problem transcending jurisdictions.

Particular emphasis was placed on highlighting educational, technological and legislative initiatives implemented in Canada and Australia and the important role that law-related and civic/civility education can and should play in addressing how young people (and adults) interact in our digital world.