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Issue: Digital Defamation

Digital Defamation involves online hate speech, unfair bias, discrimination, and defamation and/or profiling of various minority groups including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, youth, the elderly, disabled, racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, and other traditionally underrepresented groups.

To report an incident of bias, discrimination, or defamation online, please fill out the Online Incident Report Form.

Here are some resources, including media coverage and links to organizations and related publications about digital defamation issues. More general information about other online policy issues is available from the Issues bar at the top of most pages on this website. For information on digital defamation directed at a particular community, choose the relevant community program from the Tabs bar at the top of most pages of this website.

Media Coverage

*   Pa. Judge's Defamation Suit Sent Back to Superior Court
Lawyers for Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin will have to prove before members of her own court that anonymous individuals who posted allegedly defamatory comments about her on the Internet should be forced to disclose their identities so she can proceed with a defamation suit against them, Legal Intelligencer (November 21, 2003)

*   Ukraine to Censor Net
The Ukrainian parliament passed the first reading of a bill banning internet publication of anything that promotes terrorism, the overthrow of the state or damages an individual's reputation, Agence France-Presse via Australian IT (November 19, 2003)

*   Middle East Website Posts Then Removes LGBT Story
We must express our extreme disappointment that Al Bawada capitulated to the pressures put upon them by fundamentalist conservative closed minded people that would like us to believe that there are no G.L.B.T. people in the middle east, (October 4, 2003)

*   Australian Judge Rules Against LA Man in Web Defamation Case
An Australian judge has ordered a Los Angeles man to pay $61,000 for defaming an Australian journalism professor on several Web sites, Associated Press via Sacramento Bee (September 4, 2003)

*   Watch What You Surf, Net Police Are Here
In what appears to be its first serious attempt to monitor the Internet, the Government of India has outlined an official procedure for blocking websites, Times of India (August 1, 2003)

Recent Coverage

Organizations and Related Publications

*   Victim of Offensive E-Mail Lacks Standing to Assert Claim Based on Sender's ISP Agreement
Absent express language to the contrary, the victim of an allegedly offensive e-mail is not a third-party beneficiary of the sender's contract with its Internet service provider and lacks standing to assert a breach of contract claim on this basis, Technology Law Update (Adobe PDF format) (July 10, 2003)

*   Human Rights and the World Summit on the Information Society
Online Policy Group joins a group of 43 non-governmental organizations signing a letter to the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights urging his active participation in the preparatory committee and summit meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society, taking place in September and December 2003, (June 16, 2003)

*   San Francisco Reacts to Supreme Court LGBTIQQ Rights Ruling
A broad coalition of San Francisco community organizations has called an event to protest or celebrate, depending on the outcome of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Texas sodomy statute, QueerNet Project of Online Policy Group (June 12, 2003)

*   Government Mandated Blocking of Foreign Web Content
This paper provides a technical view on problems imposed by government blocking orders in Germany, blocking content at the access or network provider level, and some empirical data on the effects of the blocking orders to help in the legal assessment of the orders, Lecture Notes in Informatics (June 5, 2003)

*   N.D. High Court Upholds $3 Million Libel Claim Against Student Over Web Site
The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a district court judgment in May in a $3 million libel claim brought against a former University of North Dakota student for her "harassing" remarks to a professor, Student Press Law Center (June 3, 2003)

Recent Publications

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