About the Webinar
IT for Change, with support from EdelGive Foundation and International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC), is bringing together legal scholars, practitioners, platform intermediaries, feminist activists and journalists in a three-part webinar series to unpack sexist hate speech online across February, in the lead up to International Women’s Day, 2021.
The stellar lineup of speakers includes Aparna Bhat, Arti Raghavan, Amber Sinha, Mariana Valente, Mariya Salim, NS Nappinai, Rishab Bailey, Shehla Rashid, Vaishali Bhagwat, Vishal Gogne, Vrinda Bhandari, and more!
The webinar series will be open to the public, and create the much-needed space for an informed deliberation to address an issue vital to women’s fundamental rights in a democracy.
The series includes the following sessions:
Session 1: 10 February 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:30pm IST: When does free speech become censorship? The constitutional case against sexist speech: An oft-repeated argument against the case of online content regulation is that platforms are proven bastions of free speech. At the same time, instances of removal of content and blocking of users have led to claims of censorship on the part of platforms.
The session will look at how a lack of restrictions on free speech can affect the ability of women and marginal groups from political participation in online democratic spaces. It will focus on the constitutional role of free speech in a democracy, the necessary role of reasonable restrictions to free speech, and how to address sexist hate speech online within this larger question of defining the boundaries of free speech.
Session 2: 17 February 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm IST: Who is responsible for the misogyny online? Platform responses to misogyny: It is an incontrovertible fact that online platforms have betrayed their gender-transformative potential and instead emerged as strongholds of misogynistic hate and rising conservatism globally.
In this session, we will take a closer look at how platforms have responded to complaints of misogynistic speech, as well as how they can do better both in terms of development and application of community standards, including through algorithmic techniques. The session will also venture into the possible role the law can play in setting the boundaries for platform governance.
Session 3: 24 February 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm IST: How should the law deal with misogyny online? A feminist framework for legal reform: Monopolistic private power should not be the arbiter of the limits of free speech; instead this should be done through public means by institutions that are accountable to the people. This session will discuss what such accountability may look like in relation to social media, with reflections on how laws can make for a normative basis of content regulation against misogyny.
It will also explore the possibilities of transparency and justice merited through communication decency laws for platforms to behave responsibly towards an affected user base (such as emerging evidence from the German NetzDG law demonstrates).
How to Register?
Interested participants can register for the webinar through this link.