Freedom of Speech in a Digital World

July 05, 2020

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.