Briefing: Online Defamation

Keywords: hate speech, criminal defamation, slander, libel, harrassment, insult, blasphemy, lèse-majesté

Online defamation is increasingly recognized as a social problem that official policymakers must address along with civil society actors. Racist-sexist hate campaigns launched by nationalist circles are currently the most obvious form of organized online defamation - not only in this country. As part of the forth estate, women journalists are to some extent doubly discriminated against on the basis of gender and occupation and are exposed to a circle of defamatory strategies (figure). The Internet as a medium of globalization has become both the setting and vehicle for populist anti-globalist strategies. The observation of such tendencies in different countries within and outside Europe and the cross-border networking of relevant actions have put this topic on the agenda of global cooperation research. Without claiming to be exhaustive, this briefing compiles aspects that may be relevant for public discussion.