What is this?There are some narrow categories of website content regarding which almost everyone agrees that it is proper for the publication of such material to be illegal. Example of this are some kinds of hate speech and so-called "child pornography", i.e. images of sexual abuse of children.
Some people believe in addition that some broader categories of content which are also objectionable in some way, for example by being offensive from one or more religious perspectives, should not be tolerated to exist on the publicly viewable Internet.
DiscussionFrank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated in his [report:LaRue_2011|report dated 16 May 2011] that "any restriction to freedom of expression must meet the strict criteria under international human rights law". Specifically:
"As with offline content, when a restriction is imposed as an exceptional measure on online content, it must pass a three-part, cumulative test:
(1) it must be provided by law, which is clear and accessible to everyone (principles of predictability and transparency);
(2) it must pursue one of the purposes set out in article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), namely: (i) to protect the rights or reputations of others; (ii) to protect national security or public order, or public health or morals (principle of legitimacy); and
(3) it must be proven as necessary and the least restrictive means required to achieve the purported aim (principles of necessity and proportionality). In addition, any legislation restricting the right to freedom of expression must be applied by a body which is independent of any political, commercial, or other unwarranted influences in a manner that is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory. There should also be adequate safeguards against abuse,including the possibility of challenge and remedy against its abusive application."
- Content filtering
- Prohibition of hate speech
- Protection of Internet intermediaries from liability for objectionable content
- Rules about what content of online publications is allowed or forbidden
- Website blocking
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