Tag Archives | International

Pedro X. Molina Speaking on The Art of Resistance

In the midst of turbulent political times in the United States, it’s easy to forget that pressures on press freedom are everywhere these days. Tonight’s talk by Pedro X. Molina, which was co-sponsored by our Center, was a stark reminder of that.

In 2017 Pedro X. Molina was a prolific participant in the #FreeNseRamon campaign demanding freedom for fellow illustrator and political cartoonist, Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, who was imprisoned for his work criticizing his country’s government, Equatorial Guinea.

Pedro X. Molina, also known as ‘PxMolinA,’ is an internationally acclaimed political cartoonist, illustrator and journalist from Nicaragua. In December 2018, when the offices of news media outlet Confidencial were taken over by government forces and during a national crackdown on journalists and government critics, Molina fled his country. He and his colleagues continue to publish daily in Confidencial.com.ni, either from exile or from other locations in Nicaragua. In summer 2019, Molina won the prestigious Maria Moors Cabot Award in international journalism from Columbia’s School of Journalism. In 2018, Molina won the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from Cartoonists Rights Network International, as well as the Excellence in Journalism award from the Inter American Press Association.

Esono Ebalé’s work and Molina’s contributions to the #FreeNseRamon campaign are both featured in  ‘The Art of Resistance’ exhibition on display throughout the FedEx Global Education Center until December 13, 2019. Come hear/see Molina share his work in Nicaragua and his efforts to support freedom of expression everywhere.

Molina reminded those of us who attended his talk that fanaticism is rampant across the globe, and that citizens must advocate for human decency over ideology.

This event was sponsored by the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Global Relations, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, Institute for the Study of the Americas, Department of Romance Studies and UNC Global.


What Germany May Teach Us About Platform Regulation

I recently returned from three weeks as the Distinguished Visiting Professor in Media Studies at the University of Tübingen in Germany, where I taught a seminar on international platform regulation to a small group of German undergraduates.

In theory, I taught them. In reality, they taught me as much if not more about the current state of global platform regulation. And that’s not surprising, given how fast the discussions about regulation are moving and how immersed German students are in their online and offline communities.

The invitation to spend time with students at Tübingen’s Institute of Media Studies is part of the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy’s expanding efforts to understand and include global perspectives in media law at a time of rapid and increasing change. (It was also thanks to our growing relationship with UNC Global and their work to support the UNC – Tübingen partnership and to our terrific host, Dr. Guido Zurstiege.) Traditional libertarian perspectives that underlie the First Amendment and much of U.S. case law are on the defensive thanks to growing political polarization and online forces that are manipulating the speech environment.

As the United States debates whether to revise the part of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) known as Sec. 230, (the provision of federal law that was adopted in 1996 to incentivize good faith efforts by media platforms to address online harms and in return receive protections from liability), the European Union (EU) and Germany, in particular, are not waiting.

My conversations with students and scholars in Tübingen repeatedly focused on what holds the U.S. back from moving forward with Sec. 230 reform and what countries like Germany are already doing to demand more accountability from platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With Germany’s hate speech regulation history, it is not surprising to find the discussion there focused on “why” and “how” – not “if” and “when,” as it is here in the States.

To be sure, Tübingen students did express concerns about collateral censorship and the EU’s adoption of Article 13, a measure that will hold platforms more accountable for infringing content. But in terms of addressing the real and tangible harms of hate and radicalization online, there is no question: Germany and the EU have already moved quite aggressively.

Indeed, while I was in Germany and later, when I traveled to France to present at the World Journalism Educators Conference, both countries made a flurry of announcements.

In Germany, the Bundesamt für Justiz, Germany’s Federal Office of Justice, announced it would fine Facebook €2 million for allegedly failing to comply with how it reports the number of hate speech complaints it gets, part of the obligations set out in Germany’s NetzDG law. France followed Germany’s lead and passed landmark legislation to fight hate speech; it also now requires U.S. tech platforms to remove “hateful” content within 24 hours and create a new button for users to flag abuse.

The message was clear: Germany and others aren’t waiting for the U.S. to figure things out.












Media Freedom East and West: As Seen By the OSCE’s Media Freedom Watchdog

Miklos Haraszti, the Hungarian writer, journalist and human rights advocate who is the Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), gave a public lecture at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also met with graduate students enrolled in the school’s media law seminar.

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