Internet Shaping Freedom of Expression; Freedom Shaping Regulation

Recent years have seen a sequence of “moral panics” regarding accessibility of information on the internet and its exercise for criminal/harmful activity. Such problems and wider availability of internet raises the public policy concerns among governments over whether the internet should be regulated or not. Some believe it should not, considering that internet regulation will discourage what really internet is purported to encourage i.e. ‘free flow of information’. They see internet regulation as a potential threat to the ‘freedom of expression’, which is possibly one of the most prominent aspects that are instrumental in the growth and popularity of this technology. On the other hand, the others who are against the free access of internet underscores the danger of problematic content and illegal activities on the internet. They claim that much of these activities and content are illegal in most jurisdictions. Adding to this, unrestricted right to freedom of speech and expression may possibly threaten other’s rights. Thus many government organizations and internet users call for the regulation of internet. In this backdrop, paper revisits relevant literature and attempt to respond to the contentious problem of internet regulation. In this process, the paper also examines the experiences from several countries grappling with the problem of internet regulation. It concludes that any regulation on the internet has to be multi-faceted, culturally sensitive, and globally coordinated.