Free Speech Doesn’t Excuse Online Harassment

January 30, 2015

The prevalence of stalking and the connected harassment of all kinds (including online harassment) in the United States is disproportionally directed against women and minority groups. This is a fact, and efforts to address the problem suffer from inconsistency and a general lack of understanding.

Today’s link comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation which is committed to defending people’s rights in the digital world. The featured article by Nadia Kayyali and Danny O’Brien, discusses the promise and peril of online forums and communities, as well as how they relate to free-speech, harassment, and anonymity. Refreshingly, our authors are not content to merely discuss the problems. They offer solutions as well.

…one of the most effective methods to address online harassment is counter-speech. Counter-speech happens when supporters of targeted groups or individuals deploy that same communicative power of the Net to call out, condemn, and organize against behavior that silences others. That’s why, contrary to some mistaken assumptions, the fight for free expression and combating harassment online are not opposites, but complements.

Read “Facing the Challenge of Online Harassment” here.

 

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