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Call for papers: Old and new threats to freedom of expression - Can the European Court of Human Rights meet the challenges?

The workshop on 12 June 2020 is co-organised by the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School, European Convention on Human Rights Law Review and University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice and supported by the European Society of International Law (ESIL).

The European Court of Human Rights says that freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society. It is one of the basic conditions for the progress of a democratic society and each individual’s self-fulfillment. While the ‘classic’ questions remain (when can free speech be legitimately limited within a liberal democracy), a number of modern-day challenges to freedom of expression are arising. For instance, what is the role of private online intermediaries? How does the contemporary wave of disinformation impact on rights? What questions do the extraterritorial dimensions of freedom of expression raise? We welcome submissions proposing novel analysis of both ‘classic’ freedom of expression questions, such as hate speech, political correctness, terrorist propaganda and whistleblowing and new challenges, as online expression, mis/dis-information, mal-information and ‘fake news’, the increasing concentration of media ownership, and the rise of populist expression. Particularly, we seek to explore what can the ECtHR do to address the most problematic freedom of expression-related questions raised by illiberal democracies and restrictive political regimes within Europe. Freedoms of judicial, academic, artistic, political, journalistic and corporate expression fall squarely within the goals of this workshop.


The workshop is open to both established and early-career scholars and practitioners, including advanced PhD students. It is open to researchers of human rights law and fundamental rights, and also welcomes submissions from those working at the crossroads of law and other disciplines, including political philosophy, political science, sociology and economics. We also encourage submissions that undertake comparative analysis. 

Interested participants should provide an abstract in Word format of no more than 500 words. Together with their abstracts, applicants should provide the following information: first name/family name, affiliation, title of the proposed paper and email address. Abstracts should be submitted to starke[at]hertie-school[dot]org by 31 January 2020.

The criteria of selection are originality and the potential of the paper to be considered for publication in the European Convention on Human Rights Law Review. Work already published is not eligible for submission. Speakers will be informed of acceptance of their proposals by 17 February 2020 and be required to submit a full paper by 18 May 2020. Papers should be between 12,000 and 18,000 words, including footnotes. The style is OSCOLA.

In principle, speakers will be required to meet the cost of travel and accommodation.

Workshop organisers: 

  • Bașak Çalı, Hertie School
  • Vassilis Tzevelekos, University of Liverpool
  • Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, University of Liverpool

Download the Call for papers