Author Archives: Katharine Sarikakis

Incitement in media content and political discourse in Member States of the European Union

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) publishes a paper that provides a snapshot of manifestations of incitement in media content and political discourse against different groups in EU Member States.

The paper outlines the European and International legal framework governing such cases, substantiated by relevant case law examples. Highlighting that members of minority groups perceive the prevailing social climate as condoning racism, xenophobia and intolerance, the FRA paper underlines the need for EU institutions and Member States to address the effect incitement can have on the population groups it targets.

‘Violence, threats and pressures against journalists and other media actors in the European Union’ 2016

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reports that free and pluralist media is vital to the democratic functioning of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. However, journalists and other media actors in the EU face various challenges, including violence, threats and other forms of pressure, both direct and indirect.

European free flow of data initiative within the Digital Single Market

As part of the Digital Single Market strategic actions the European Commission announced its will to maximise the growth potential of the digital economy is a “European ‘Free flow of data’ initiative that tackles restrictions on the free movement of data for reasons other than the protection of personal data within the EU and unjustified restrictions on the location of data for storage or processing purposes”. In addition, the initiative “(…) will address the emerging issues of ownership, interoperability, usability and access to data in situations such as business-to-business, business to consumer, machine generated and machine-to-machine data. It will encourage access to public data to help drive innovation”. Recently an Inception Impact Assessment was published. The document is found here.

Privacy and Data Protection

The ePD (Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications) concerns the protection of privacy and personal data in the electronic communication sector. The ePD was reviewed and amended in 2009 in the context of the review of the telecoms regulatory framework by Directive 2009/136/EC of 25 November 2009. Recently the Commission has published its “Evaluation and Impact Assessment of Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)” as part of its REFIT project. Available at

Intellectual property for business and consumers

The variety of copyright regimes in the 28 EU Member States – in the lack of an ‘EU copyright title’ – require researchers and scholars to get engaged with the differences and similarities of those regulatory frameworks. The European Union Intellectual Property Office Observatory provides here valuable expertise on interpreting the national laws and regulations in place.

Council of Europe report on mass surveillance

In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the Council of Europe produced a report on mass surveillance noting that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was deeply concerned about the “mass surveillance and large-scale intrusion practices hitherto unknown to the general public and even to most political decision-makers. The report further noted the “lack of adequate legal regulation and technical protection at the national and international level; and/or its effective enforcement. It pointed out that a number of Council of Europe member states were affected by the US mass surveillance activities, including via partnership of their national intelligence agencies with their US counterparts in the bulk collection of data, from people for whom there is no suspicion of any wrongdoing. The report emphatically declares: “The surveillance practices disclosed so far endanger fundamental human rights, including the rights to privacy (Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)), freedom of information and expression (Article 10, ECHR), and the rights to a fair trial (Article 6, ECHR) and freedom of religion (Article 9) – especially when privileged communications of lawyers and religious ministers are intercepted and when digital evidence is manipulated). These rights are cornerstones of democracy. Their infringement without adequate judicial control also jeopardizes the rule of law.”




Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting

Ιν 2009 the Commission adopted a new Communication on state aid for the funding of public service broadcasters. It provides a clear framework for the development of public broadcasting services and enhances legal certainty for investment by both public and private media. The main amendments from the 2001 communication include a greater focus on accountability and effective control at a national level.

Brennan Center report in impact of NSA overseas surveillance on privacy of Americans

Recent discussions on the topics of privacy and technology in the US have in turn shone a spotlight on how government agencies engage in surveillance inside the US. Thus, there has been much debate about how the FBI is seeking backdoors to bypass encryption on smart devices and on how the NSA engaged in bulk collection of the phone records of American citizens.

However, this Brennan Center Report indicates that the overseas surveillance endeavours of the NSA, authorised under Executive Order 12333 and shrouded in secrecy,may be impacting Americans’ privacy much more than most might assume.

Online Sexual Harassment in the Eyes of Iranian Internet Users

The study has been developed based on a survey of 25 questions taken by 722 respondents. The survey comprised of three sections: (1) problem comprehension, (2) user experience, and (3) demographic questions. The first section posed general questions in order to identify users’ understanding of online sexual harassment while the second contained tailored questions for those with any first hand experience. Lastly, we asked survey respondents of their demographics which paints a substantial part of our data analysis. The survey was posted on multiple online platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram channels and Balatarin between January 17 and February 1, 2016.

Freedom in the World (Freedom House 2016)

Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication, is the standard-setting comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the survey ratings and narrative reports on 195 countries and 15 related and disputed territories are used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders.