Freedom of Expression Online, Perspectives from Canada and the World
"Never do anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of Frank magazine." Russell Smith's father gave him this advice before the Internet even existed, at a time when scandals, harangues and provocations still moved at the speed of print. Cyberspace seemed to change all that, and the Internet quickly became one of the most exciting, abused, and hotly contested fora for freedom of expression in the new century. But have our digital conversations really changed the politics of free expression?
Panelists at Freedom of Expression Online, Perspectives from Canada and the World, PEN Canada's Non-Speak Week collaboration with the Citizen Lab, mostly concluded that it hadn't. For every gain in freedom of expression there seemed to be a corresponding doubt or drawback. Social media might have the capacity to spread democracy faster, but it allows censors to monitor public utterances around the clock, and to track dissent much faster than before.
The conversation was free-flowing and addressed a wide range of issues, from bloggers being killed in Latin America to cyber-bullying here in Canada.
Sorry you missed the event? Don't be, watch the videos below!
Alejandro Pisanty Director General for Academic Computing Services of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and former member and Founding Chair of CUDI, Corporación Universitaria para el Desarrollo de Internet.
Luis Horacio Nájera Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab and the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies
Ron Deibert Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, and the Citizen Lab
Russell Smith Culture Columnist, The Globe and Mail