Guest lecture: "On online intimidation of environmental activists" by Lien Stolle

For whom
Students , Employees , Press , Private individuals
08-12-2022 from 09:00 to 10:00
Auditorium F, Campus Aula, Universiteitstraat 4, 9000 Gent
Lien Stolle

Against the backdrop of recent reports on climate and biodiversity, it becomes clear that further action is needed to promote and protect the environment. Crucial to for this are environmental defenders. This class will examine and discuss it.

Guest lecture by Lien Stolle in the course International and European Environmental Law on online intimidation of environmental activists.

Against the backdrop of recent reports on climate and biodiversity, it becomes clear that further action is needed to promote and protect the environment. Crucial to protecting the environment and the human rights that depend on it are environmental defenders.

Over the past decade, digital technology has given us additional tools to make our voices heard on issues of concern and take action to effect change. Today, many environmental defenders operate online to exchange information and call for action. However, the digital sphere also often reflects the issues at play in our society and grants them new dimensions.
More recently, some have expressed great concern about a form of harassment that is much less tangible and less visible – namely, digital harassment (or so-called "slow violence") against environmental defenders. A well-known example of this concerns the amount of hate Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg received online. Although, this does not appear to be a one-off example. Digital intimidation seems to encompass a range of tactics, including hateful comments, online threats and surveillance tactics, among others. This can seriously affects the enjoyment and exercise of various human rights, such as freedom of expression, and (procedural) environmental rights, including those enshrined in the Aarhus Convention and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. If such acts go unpunished, this can have a
chilling effect that ultimately curtails public debate on environmental issues.
This class will examine the concept of "environmental defenders" and discuss the existing legal framework that protects
them from forms of harassment. Building on that, the class will delve into the use of digital intimidation tactics against
environmental defenders and discuss the lack of attention to this issue within environmental law and policy.
(EN) Registration required.

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