Workshop on “Government and the internet”

The MEDIADEM working group on new media at the European University Institute (EUI) held a session on freedom of expression on the Internet at the workshop ‘Government and the Internet: Participation, Expression and Control’. The workshop took place in Florence on 8-9 March 2011. It was organised by the Department of Social and Political Sciences, the Department of Law and the Information Society Working Group of the EUI.

The MEDIADEM morning session started with a presentation by Dr Andrea Cairola from the NEXA Center for Internet and Society at the Politecnico di Torino. Dr Cairola discussed the ecology of freedom of expression online and presented NEXA’s recent research findings on freedom of expression online in Italy, including recommendations for policy action. Prof. Tony Prosser from the University of Bristol acted as discussant and the floor was subsequently opened for questions and general discussion.

The second part of the session comprised shorter presentations on freedom of expression by the members of the MEDIADEM new media working group at the EUI. The discussion started with Dr Federica Casarosa who presented the legal issues regarding blogs in Italy and the approach taken by the courts. Ben Farrand then talked about the growing trend of using copyright law to suppress online expression. Finally, Angela Daly presented the corporate response to the WikiLeaks US embassy cables and its implications for freedom of expression.

The afternoon session consisted of presentations by Jon Bright and Ben Wagner, who are also associated with the MEDIADEM working group on new media, together with a presentation by Marco Pancini from Google on freedom of expression from a corporate perspective. The presentations and the lively discussions that followed helped bring together different viewpoints on the challenges that freedom of information faces in an online environment and offered a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate regarding freedom of expression and the media in Europe.

The agenda of the workshop is available here.

For more information on the MEDIADEM session, you may contact Federica Casarosa.