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April 2024

Bridging the Gap

How do we balance the complexities of managing what people say online with protecting their right to speak freely? HBI Director Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz will discuss this with other experts at a public panel discussion in New York from 5.30 to 7 PM (CEST); 11:30-13:00 AM (ET).

The HBI is hosting the event together with the Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG), the German Center for Research and and Innovation (DWIH), the Consulate General of Germany and the UNESCO Chair for Freedom of Communication and Information.

The event will be held in English and will be streamed live.

Questions can be submitted via Slido.

  • Wolfgang Schulz, Director at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research I Hans-Bredow-Institut; Research Director at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG); Holder of the UNESCO Chair of Freedom of Communication and Information
  • David Gill, German Consul General in New York
  • Ellen P. Goodman, Professor of Information Policy Law Rutgers University; Senior Advisor for Algorithmic Justice at U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Chinmayi Arun, Executive Director of the Information Society Project and a Research Scholar at Yale Law School
  • Zoe Darmé, Senior Manager on Consumer Trust at Google, formerly content governance and moderation at Facebook
  • Peter Micek, General Counsel and UN Policy Manager at Access Now

Moderation: Sumi Somaskanda, Chief Presenter at BBC News

Please register here, if you plan to attend in person. 
About the Event

How do we balance the complexities of managing what people say online with protecting their right to speak freely? As public communication increasingly shifts to online and social media platforms, the question of ensuring freedom of expression becomes more pressing. Legal frameworks in the US and Europe offer different approaches: In the US, the First Amendment only permits minimal government restrictions. This allows social media platforms a wide leeway in moderating content. The extent of this latitude is currently being discussed before the Supreme Court.

In contrast,  EU member states usually have rules to combat hate speech and discrimination. This obliges platforms to remove specific content to comply with local laws. Yet new rules, like the Digital Services Act, which recently came fully into force, the Digital Markets Act, and the future AI Act, are bound to increase Europe’s normative power.

Power struggles over speech regimes are certain to arrive. This is because the globally active platforms based in the US ‘export’ the US approach to free speech via their terms of service. But European approaches to regulation are also being ‘exported’ as international reference points through a process, known as the Brussels effect.

The future of free speech online hangs in the balance as new rules try to respond to new challenges. This is an ideal time to engage in a transatlantic dialogue on this issue and explore what lessons can be learned – and how communicative spaces can be built for the future.

Infos zur Veranstaltung


Consulate General of Germany
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz
Director (Chairperson)

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 0 (Sekretariat)

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