Universiteit Leiden

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Workshop ‘Disinformation and Human Rights in Context’

On 24 January an interdisciplinary workshop organised by Anna Smulders, PhD candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, and Tarlach McGonagle, Professor of Media Law and Information Society, took place on the interaction between disinformation, emerging technologies and human rights. The workshop received funding from the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR).

Experts from different backgrounds came together at Leiden University’s Academy Building to discuss and exchange ideas on the topic of disinformation and human rights. The discussion had three main focus areas: the relationship between online platforms, emerging technologies and the media; the impact of disinformation on minority groups; and ultimately the overarching question of how to conduct in-depth research on disinformation.

Throughout the day, a dozen experts from academia (Leiden University, University of Amsterdam and Radboud University), the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) shared their valuable insights and expertise on these issues. They all shared concerns about the increasing sophistication of disinformation online, the worrying weaponisation of the right to freedom of expression in political debate, and the increasing pressure faced by national and gender  minorities and journalists. Attention was paid to the disruptive role of disinformation in various ongoing conflicts, including in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the influence of disinformation on, inter alia, the global debate on climate change.

The speakers’ contributions, responding to these shared concerns, were constructive and contained innovative ways forward with an emphasis on the increased accountability of online platforms, transparency, the importance of fact-checkers, and the position of civil society. An exchange of best practices and academic insights, and a lively debate with the audience made the day a success and a fruitful starting point for further engagement. 

The workshop programme can be found on this website.

More information on the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR).

The Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) was established in 2017 to sustain and further strengthen cooperation in the field of human rights research. The NNHRR has become an essential platform for human rights researchers seeking to establish meaningful contacts and durable links in the Netherlands.

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