Challenges of freedom of speech online: technical, legal and ethical aspects

by Petrovski Andrej

Freedom of speech is one of the essential human rights, it is guaranteed by many national and international documents, and it should be one of the strongest pillars of every modern democracy. Since it is the era of the Internet, and a huge portion of the democracy has gone online it is of vital importance that the right of freedom of speech is exercised online as well as offline. Unfortunately there have been witnessed numerous situations which bring to the conclusion that the right of freedom of speech online cannot be taken for granted, at least not in Serbia. This is one of the most important social phenomena of the new age, which is why it is important to deal with this problem from as many angles as possible. There are three main points that need to be tackled in order for a comprehensive image of the problem to be formed. First of all, the technical aspect. Since the topic is focused on the freedom of speech online it is only natural to start off by observing the technical and technological mechanisms that are disabling the public to express their opinion freely on the internet. Anyway, this cannot be observed as a solely technical subject. It has strong legal implications on several levels, as mentioned before, the freedom of speech is guaranteed by both national and international regulations and standards. Regarding this topic it is more relevant how the system i.e. the organs of state help the public to exercise the right of freedom of speech on the Internet. Last, but not least, are the ethical aspects of the challenges of free speech online. Several questions pop out, but the core is quite simple Who is responsible for making sure that freedom of speech online can be incessant and indiscriminate? What ethical, legal or other measures should be taken in case the instance in charge for securing the freedom of speech online fails to do so?