The University of the Philippines wins the 2015 International Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court

The 8th annual International Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition saw the team from the Philippines earn the overall winner title after a strong final match against the team from Singapore Management University. The two teams had faced Florida International University, USA and National Law University, Jodhpur, India respectively in the semi-finals.

In addition to the best memorials and top oralist prizes, the Price Moot presented this year’s Jonathan Blake Spirit of the Competition Award to Zeina Ayyad and Wafaa Saadeh from Birzeit University, Palestine for their outstanding performance in the Middle East Regional Rounds.

To read more about the 2015 International Rounds (including the events and workshops that took place alongside the competition) and to view the full results, please visit this page.

Latest updates on the Media, Conflict and Democratization project

For the latest information on the EU FP7 project on Media, Conflict and Democratization (MeCoDEM) check out the MeCoDEM website. Research emerging from this project will be posted here, along with events and other resources.  PCMLP is pleased to be leading Work Package 6 on Government Communication and directing the Kenya country team research.  Further information can be found here: http://www.mecodem.eu 

Mapping and Analysing Hate Speech Online: Opportunities and Challenges for Ethiopia

PCMLP, in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, has published a new report that offers a set of innovative conceptual and methodological tools to address the emergence and proliferation of hate speech online.

The issue of hate speech is complex – it serves as an illuminative lens for researchers and practitioners, governments and citizens, as well as perpetrators and victims, to consider some of the key paradigms that underpin models of statehood and democracy. The problem becomes all the more pressing and salient in deeply divided societies that are transitioning to democracy. In such contexts and in fragile environments, political entrepreneurs are able to politicise longstanding socio-economic inequalities that mobilise deeply entrenched feeling of injustice, domination and persecution towards certain demographic and social groups, with the ultimate objective of perpetrating systematic, targeted and widespread violence. Furthermore, as access to the internet changes the ways in which individuals and groups communicate, and produces new spaces for dialogue and exchange, it also brings with it risks and concerns over the ways in which these spaces may be instrumentalised for violent ends.

This working paper provides a framework through which hate speech which emerges and is disseminated online can be identified and analysed. The aims of this working paper are twofold.

Firstly, it is meant to provide an introductory guide for those interested in mapping and analysing hate speech, especially as communicated through online media and in divided societies. Section 1 offers an overview of the recent debates over the definition of hate speech, both from a scholarly and legal perspective. It briefly examines how different actors, from international bodies to national legislators and online companies, have sought to regulate and counteract hate speech, and stresses the importance of balancing competing principles to advance social inclusiveness as a “public good”. Section 2 surveys different methodological tools that can be adopted to map and analyse hate speech and the trade-offs between the ability of providing a contextually grounded analysis of instances of hate speech and the possibility of processing large volumes of data. It also offers concrete case studies of projects which have innovatively analysed hate speech both online and offline.

The second aim is to interrogate how a rigorous and academically informed analysis of hate speech can offer a novel terrain for engagement among different actors in divided societies, with a particular focus on Ethiopia. As it has been the case in other societies fractured across ethnic, political, and religious lines, at critical times such as before an election accusations of inciting hatred have been made by different actors to attack their opponents. The concept of hate speech advanced in these instances has tended to be boundless and to reflect more the interests and concerns of those referring to an act as hateful or able to incite hatred, rather than being based on an agreed definition. Section 3 reflects on the importance of bringing different actors around the same table, from members of the government and the opposition to bloggers supporting agendas at different ends of the political spectrum, and to engage in debates that can ultimately bound them to a shared definition of what is and what is not speech that can promote hate and violence, and to collectively recognize and develop measures to counteract it. A shared, academically rigorous and contextually grounded definition of hate speech and the mapping of instances that fall under it can help preventing governments and other political actors from politicising speech acts. Together with the analysis of how individuals are already opening spaces for dialogue on different platforms, it can offer a novel way to map where risks lie and where, on the contrary, people should be allowed to voice their opinions. In countries like Ethiopia, where calls for respecting and enforcing freedom of expression coming from external organizations, including human rights groups and donors, have tended to be ignored, this approach can open a new avenue for allowing dialogue among different forces in society, and with it a basis for a strong and vibrant democracy. The paper concludes by outlining the principles that should inform this new research agenda, aimed at mitigating ethnic, political and social fissures underlying debates on hate speech.

Download : Ethiopia hate speech

Call for chapter proposals: ICTs, Governance & Peacebuilding in Africa

New information technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones hold great potential to affect peacebuilding, statebuilding, governance, transparency, and accountability in Africa. ICTs ubiquity and ability to interact with older media enables citizens to experiment with innovative ways of influencing politics.  Despite strong assertions in the existing research regarding the usefulness of ICTs (and media more generally) in political and post-conflict transition, governance, and development, there is very little understanding of how people and communities in Africa actually use these ICTs, and how these uses contribute to governance and peacebuilding.

The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford are currently seeking papers for a forthcoming workshop and an edited volume. Authors are asked to provide critical analyses of how the public uses, makes sense of, and engages with ICTs, and the relationship between ICTs, the public, and governance or peacebuilding. Strong preference will be given to chapters that provide empirical evidence for the arguments put forth. Analyses should be applicable to Africa, and chapters focused on Eastern Africa are especially welcome. Academics from African universities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Funding will be provided for successful authors to attend the workshop, which will be held either in New York, USA or Oxford, UK in June or July 2014.

For chapters incorporating empirical research, we are particularly interested in qualitative methodologies (case studies, ethnography, interviews, etc.) but all approaches are acceptable.

Contributions may focus on, but are not limited to:

  • The use of crowd-sourcing in conflict-affected regions
  • The role of ICTs in accountability or transparency initiatives
  • Local perspectives on citizen ‘voice’ and the use of ICTs
  • The use of ICTs in transitional justice processes
  • The intersection or merging of old and new technologies to impact peacebuilding or governance
  • ICT innovation at the grassroots level

Abstracts (max. 2000 words) and author biography (max. 100 words) are due by March 6, 2014.

Please send abstracts, as well as any questions, to Libby Morgan at lmorgan@asc.upenn.edu.

Notification of selected authors: March 20, 2014

Deadline for submission of rough papers in APA format: June 15, 2014

Deadline for submission of final papers in APA format (6,000-8,000 words): August 15, 2014

This book is being funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is part of a multi-year research project on ICTs, Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Eastern Africa.