Meetup: Free speech online

The British government announced in the previous Queen’s speech that they wish to introduce a new Digital Charter – a collection of legislation, initiatives and guidance intended to protect citizens from potential harms online, whilst also allowing for personal freedom. Although the actual charter has yet to be published, several aspects have been announced already, such as

  • the criminalisation of watching extremist content,
  • an online hate crime hub to report cases to the police,
  • the regulation of social media companies.

However, there are several issues with the approach our government is taking. For instance, how does the government define:

  • Protected speech?
  • Hate speech /  crime?
  • Harmful content?
  • Extremist content?

It is also “passing the buck” onto social media companies to regulate the law, whilst also refusing to clarify these categories.

Join us the evening of Monday 26th March, 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Sloman lounge, Department of Computer Science, University of Birmingham. We are pleased to host Dr. Dima Saber (Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University) and Dr. Bharath Ganesh (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford), who will be sharing their expertise in journalism and social media.

RSVP here.

Dr. Dima Saber is a Senior Research Fellow at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (Birmingham City University). Her research is focussed on media depictions of conflict in the Arab region, and she is responsible for leading and delivering projects in citizen journalism, particularly exploring the relation between digital media literacy and social impact in post-revolution and in conflict settings such as Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Her latest publications include work on crowd-sourced Syrian archives as memories of the Syrian war (in Archives and Records, 2017), on Hezbollah and IS videogames productions (in Media, Culture and Society, 2016), and on Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the July 2006 war (in The Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research, 2016). She is currently writing a monograph titled ‘Archives of War: Narrating 60 Years of Conflict in the MENA’ which looks at the relation between media archives of conflict and processes of history making in contexts such as Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

Dr. Bharath Ganesh is a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. His current research explores the spread and impact of data science techniques in local governments across Europe, right-wing and counter-jihad extremism in Europe and the United States, and uses big data to study new media audiences and networks. He is developing new projects to study hate speech and extremism online and regulatory responses to this problem. Broadly, Bharath’s research focuses on the relation between technology, media, and society. Previously, Bharath was a Senior Researcher at Tell MAMA, a national project dedicated to mapping and monitoring anti-Muslim hate in the United Kingdom. He has given evidence in the Houses of Parliament on governance, extremism, gender, and hate crime and authored a number of reports in this area.

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