Dissertation defence (Law): LLM Christopher Phiri


30.11.2023 at 11.15 - 15.15
LLM Christopher Phiri defends the dissertation in Law entitled “Political Disinformation and Freedom of Expression: Demystifying the Net Conundrum” at the University of Turku on 30 November 2023 at 11.15 (University of Turku, Calonia, Cal2102, Caloniankuja 3, Turku).

The audience can participate in the defence by remote access: https://utu.zoom.us/j/65470201984

Opponent: Professor Giovanni De Gregorio (Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal)
Custos: Professor Janne Salminen (University of Turku)

Doctoral Dissertation at UTUPub: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-9528-8


Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation:

The phenomenon of ‘political disinformation’, understood broadly as disinformation relating to matters of public interest, has been a major talking point at least since 2016. Policymakers and academics alike have been arguing and haggling about how to regulate this phenomenon in the fast-evolving online communication environment whilst upholding freedom of expression, a highly-prized freedom that is generally seen as an essential feature of democracy. More often than not, emerging regulatory measures have been greeted with severe criticism. But can the state nonetheless regulate the phenomenon of political disinformation without undermining freedom of expression? If so, how?

In confronting these pressing policy questions, this dissertation goes back to the drawing board. It begins by conceptualising freedom in general and freedom of expression in particular. This in turn helps establish whether at all the law protects as part of freedom of expression the act of communicating political disinformation. The dissertation explores these questions in the light of relevant analytical and normative insights garnered from the field of political philosophy and uses as the main case study the human rights system of the Council of Europe. Its main thesis is that the state can, and has a duty to, regulate the phenomenon of political disinformation in a holistic manner and without necessarily taking away from freedom of expression, in particular by providing for a suitable combination of correction and sanction mechanisms. Given its philosophical underpinnings and holistic approach to the problem under consideration, the dissertation promises to be useful to all jurisdictions that embrace democracy.
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