MTA Law Working Papers


Vinicius Gorczeski: Freedom of Expression and Right to Justice: How Syrian organizations should use the Internet to achieve their goals under a civil war

Since a civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, independent media outlets, justice and accountability, and civil society builders organizations have striven to exert their right to freedom of expression—despite the local government’s efforts to undermine them on the streets and, in particular, in cyberspace. The Internet has proven to be an enabler of such rights, through which war crimes and other serious violations perpetrated by the Syrian government could be known by the international community. That really is in stark contrast to the Syrian pre-civil-war experience in the cyber realm, when freedom of expression was limited if not nonexistent. This paper analyzes two open questions in regard with that: how do actors working to promote the right for justice can use the Internet to coordinate with international organizations in pursuing justice and accountability efforts; and whether such emerging reality will resist a future in which Assad retains power of the country and censorship prevails over the Internet. Subsequently, this paper puts forward policy scenarios in which freedom of expression can achieve practical justice and accountability results through media and coordination efforts between local and international organizations.