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Regulating Speech in Ukraine: How Matters of Media and Sovereignty Inform the Debate

Fri, May 25, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton Old Town, M, Liszt

Abstract

As part of an international effort in Ukraine to provide guidance on protections of freedoms of speech, expression, and the media during a period of conflict, based on international conventions and local expertise, and to ensure that civil society and public opinion are represented in the ways in which these freedoms are manifest, this paper will look at a recent project to support press freedom in Ukraine against the backdrop of its current conflict with Russia. The authors will draw on their experiences in working as part of an international team tasked with developing guidelines for freedom of expression and access to information, and in particular the challenges posed by local requests to define "journalist", "propaganda", and press freedom with territorial integrity in mind. The Ukraine case study will feature elements of Price’s Media and Sovereignty, and will draw on Hirschman’s Exist, Voice, and Loyalty, to shed new light on how one might frame the difficulty that Ukrainian civil society and policy makers find themselves in when it comes to regulating free speech and expression. Both traditional forms of media and digital media are affected by Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, and as a result the challenge of how to best regulate speech, points to the need to re-think assumptions held about so-called international standards and best practices.

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