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The impact of anti-terrorism legislation on the freedom of expression in France and Turkey

The Europa Institute has invited Dorjana Bojanovska from Macedonia to visit Leiden Law School to conduct her master thesis research from 6 March - 31 March 2017. Dorjana is a student at the Comparative Constitutional Law program at the Legal Studies Department of the Central European University. The tentative title of her research is: “The impact of anti-terrorism legislation on the freedom of expression in France and Turkey: Outlook through the prism of the ECtHR.”

Accordingly, the main question that the thesis research will focus on will be, how the implementation of anti-terrorism legislation impacts freedom of expression in France and Turkey? To answer this question, the research will conduct an overview of the historical context and evolution of anti-terrorism legislation in both jurisdictions and a comparative overview of the current legislation as well as its implementation, through the standards in the case law set by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

Dorjana Bojanovska

The issues of terrorism and national security have been the topics that occupy most of today’s political and legal discussions. On the one hand, the state has an obligation to protect its citizens and their right to life, liberty and security, but on the other counter-terrorism measures enacted to protect those rights can impose challenges to human rights themselves. Today, restrictions of speech imposed by anti-terrorism legislation have spread from incitement to much broader and vague areas as the “glorification” and “apology” of terrorism. Vague and overbroad interpretations of articles and definitions in anti-terrorism legislation can also be abused and result in a threat to democracy. The research will focus on those areas of speech.

As to the choice of jurisdictions, most of the landmark Article 10 cases before the European Court of Human Rights in relation to anti-terrorism legislation, are cases against Turkey. Turkey has a long history of abuse of anti-terrorism legislation to infringe upon freedom of expression. France also has a long tradition of criminalizing incitement and glorification of terrorism and imposing anti-terrorism legislation as well, but it has also a long tradition in respecting an open media environment.  Until now, there have been just a few Article 10 cases in relation to anti-terrorism legislation against France. However, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2014 and the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015, the French Parliament has enacted several laws which broadened the sanctions for terrorist-related crimes. Even though these laws were a response to an attack that can be considered as one of the most gruesome attacks on freedom of expression, some of them had serious implications on the freedom of expression in the country itself.

Grant Central European University

The thesis research is supported by a grant awarded by the Central European University to 'students with best academic performance'. The grant supports a research visit to a European institute/University selected by the students’ choice. Dorjana choose Leiden University because of its academic excellence and the amenities that the University offers to its students, especially the Leiden University library that grants access to a vast variety of literature that would contribute immensely to the research. Additionally, she lists the Universities reputation as an ideal place to pursue any academic agenda.

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