• Joelle Fiss

U.N. side event on social media and blasphemy, hosted by the International Humanist and Ethical Unio

During the March 2017 U.N. Human Rights Council, the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Center for Inquiry organised an event on allegations of blasphemy in the digital age. The spread of social media has allowed individuals around the world to connect with like-minded people, and express their views in public and private, on numerous platforms, in a matter of moments. Yet, in a vast number of countries, governments continue to use blasphemy laws, or proxies for blasphemy laws (such as vague sedition laws, ‘national harmony’ laws, incitement prohibitions) to repress such activity.

The speakers at the side event:

-Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

-Joelle Fiss, independent researcher and consultant, author of 2016 Brookings Institution report “Anti-Blasphemy in the Digital age: When Hardliners Take Over”.

-Kacem El Ghazzali, Moroccan writer and activist who received death threats and fled country over his public atheism.

-Alber Saber, Egyptian computer science student and blogger was forced to escape country in 2012 over allegations of sharing video on social media.

-Azam Khan, Bangladeshi blogger and activist forced to leave home country due to ongoing attacks against fellow bloggers.

-Elizabeth O’Casey, Director of Advocacy, International Humanist and Ethical Union; Vice Chair, UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief (Geneva).

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