Freedom of Expression in a Digital Age

What does freedom of expression mean when ChatGPT can often speak more eloquently and faster than humans? How does social media and online speech distort the kind of speech we see in a democracy? And can this distortion be “fixed” by regulators? Or is the medicine often worse than the cure -- especially in countries undergoing processes of democratic erosion.

In this hybrid seminar (held in person in the UNSW Law & Justice Building, level two staff common room, and online via Zoom) we explore these and other questions, from both a comparative and theoretical perspective, and reflect on the state of freedom of expression in a “digital age”.

The seminar is a joint initiative of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW Sydney, and will be chaired by UNSW Allens Hub Director Professor Lyria Bennett Moses. It will also feature Hub and Centre members Dr Daniel Joyce, Sidddarth Narrain and visiting scholar Soorya Balendar.

Speaker biographies:

Dr Daniel Joyce is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW Sydney. He specialises in international law, media law and human rights. Daniel is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki, an Associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute and a member of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation. His monograph Informed Publics, Media and International Law was published by Hart in 2020.

Siddharth Narrain is a final year PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW, Sydney. His PhD thesis examines how virality has shaped Facebook's content moderation rules, governance structures, and institutional mechanisms with respect to the regulation of hate speech online in contemporary India. Siddharth is a PhD member of the Gilbert +Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW. His edited volume Acts of Media: Law and Media in Contemporary India was published by SAGE India in 2022.

Soorya Balendra is an LL.M Thesis candidate and O’Brien Graduate Fellow at the Faculty of Law, McGill University. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws Degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he graduated with a thesis on ‘The necessity of introducing cyber defamation law to Sri Lankan Legal System’. Prior to McGill, Soorya was a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka where he taught courses on Information Technology Law, Private International Law, and International Investment Law.

Professor Lyria Bennett Moses is Director of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney.