Holistic approach to tackling illegal content online

Holistic human rights-based policies to tackle illegal content guarantee a higher level of protection for all, including children, women, people of colour and vulnerable groups. Consistency is key to prevent arbitrariness and discrimination and to fight rule of law and fundamental rights breaches that could eventually be used against victims of racism and their defenders.

4 July 2018

ENAR is pleased to have joined forces with the lead European digital rights network EDRI to establish key principles to tackle racist illegal content online. We want to ensure that solutions put forward respect human rights across the board and provide redress to victims of racism online.

Beyond ’quick removal’ solutions, we argue for longer term solutions addressing deep societal issues such as racism without counter-productive effects. The role of law enforcement authorities, the need for education programmes and counter-narratives are just some concrete steps that would be more meaningful.
Our joint position paper relies on four basic principles:

1. No place for arbitrary restrictions – Any measure that is implemented must be predictable and subject to real accountability.

2. Diligent review processes – Any measure must be implemented on the basis of neutral assessment, rather than being left entirely to private parties, particularly as they may have significant conflicts of interest.

3. Learning lessons – Any measure implemented must be subject to thorough evidence-gathering and review processes.

4. Different solutions for different problems – No superficial measure in relation to incitement to violence or hatred should be implemented without clear obligations on all relevant stakeholders to play their role in dealing with the content in a comprehensive manner. Illegal racist content inciting to violence or discrimination should be referred to competent and properly resourced law enforcement authorities for adequate sanctions if they meet the criminal threshold. States must also ensure that laws on racism and incitement to violence are based on solid evidence and respect international human rights law.

This paper follows cooperation between the two organisations over the past few years to bring the digital rights community and the anti-racist movement together in a more comprehensive way. The common initiative comes at a time where the European Commission is consulting stakeholders and individuals to provide their opinion on how to tackle illegal content online.

Read the full position paper:

PDF - 734.1 kb

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