The impact of digital platforms and social media on freedom of expression and pluralism – Legal system against disinformation
Title of the event: Expert panel “Legal system against disinformation”
Place of the event: Krynica-Zdrój
Format of the event: CyberSec Cities and Regions international forum 2021
Please specify the date of the event: 01 September 2021-03 September 2021
Language of the event: Polish
Link of the event: Recording with English subtitles in preparation
Lecturer: Dr hab. Marcin Wielec
Faculty of Law and Administration Cardinal University S. Wyszyński in Warsaw
Institute of Justice in Warsaw e3Q
Dr. hab. Marcin Wielec (WPiA UKSW / IWS), as a representative of the Central European Professors’ Network, in which he is the head of the research group devoted to the issue of “The impact of digital platforms and social media on freedom of expression and pluralism”, took part in the prestigious international forum in Krynica Zdrój – Cybersec CEE Regions & Cities 2021. It is worth emphasizing that in a number of scientific events in Poland, this forum is an annual, exceptionally prestigious international meeting of scientists and practitioners dealing with research on modern technologies, law and economy. This year, the CYBERSEC CEE Regions & Cities 2021 forum was held under the slogan “Towards a digital world based on values”. Previous editions of CYBERSEC were held, among others, in Krakow, Katowice, Warsaw, Brussels, Washington etc. Every year, they gathered crowds of European policymakers, representatives of transatlantic structures, security specialists and technology experts, lawyers and economists. Each time the forum is designed to strengthen interregional relations in Central and Eastern Europe. During this conference, countless political, scientific, economic and economic relations are established, which then translate into the modernization of legal systems, management of new technologies, partnership and cybersecurity policy in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Among the guests at the forum this year was the President of the Republic of Poland – Andrzej Duda.
As fake news have recently become a significant element of communication, one of the expert discussion panels during this forum was a panel devoted to legal systems against disinformation. This panel was personally attended by dr hab. Marcin Wielec representing the Central European Professors’ Network, within which he leads a research group conducting analyses on “The impact of digital platforms and social media on freedom of expression and pluralism”. During this panel, dr hab. Marcin Wielec presented reports of criminal law in relation to the phenomenon of fake news. He defined the importance of this specific right to the possible need for legal regulation of fake news and presented fake news classifications according to the type of legal liability. All conclusions presented by dr hab. Marcin Wielec regarding fake news are the result of the research conducted within the Central European Professors’ Network in a research group devoted to issues related to “The impact of digital platforms and social media on freedom of expression and pluralism”.
In detail in this panel, dr hab. Marcin Wielec emphasized that criminal law should deal with the most important fake-news, i.e. disinformation that threatens the security of the state. Rather, other branches of law, such as administrative law or civil law, should deal with minor disinformation. He also added that in order to answer the question of whether it is possible to punish fake news, it is necessary to balance the conflict involving the constitutional value of freedom of expression and the construction of a fake news crime. Including disinformation in the structure of criminal law should begin with establishing a catalog of behaviors that make up this type of crime. We have a problem with the definition of fake news, and it will certainly also be difficult to prove this type of possible crime in a criminal trial, for which the current criminal law system in Poland is not ready yet. Existing legal measures make it possible to combat some of the threats in the area of disinformation, but their effectiveness should be achieved be re-analyzed and adapted to the requirements of the present day. We cannot stay with the legal system in the analogue era. The key problem is that the Polish civil, administrative and criminal law in the field of combating fake news is not adapted to contemporary digital means of communication and related social changes.
It is worth emphasizing that this year the forum was attended by about 600 people directly and 1500 people online.
The event was organised as part of Central European Professors’ Network 2021 and coordinated by the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law.