Journalism Program’s Jason Martin Co-Authors Paper on Anonymous Online Commenting

Journalism Professor Jason Martin has co-authored a study on the legal status of anonymous speech on the Internet in Anonymous Online Comments: The Law and Best Media Practices from Around the World, with his co-writers Kyle A. Heatherly and Anthony L. Fargo (both of Indiana University, with Fargo leading the study).

The study and resultant findings were published by the International Press Institute, as they hoped to elucidate the legal status of anonymous speech online and best practices by governments and press organizations around the world. IPI is one of the leading world organizations furthering the protection of the rights of journalists and press freedom.

The report “examines law and media best practices from around the world on the question of anonymous speech online, an issue viewed with increasing concern by press freedom advocates. Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights Opens external link in new window upheld a civil sanction against an Estonian media outlet, Delfi, for failing to pre-empt defamatory reader comments even though it removed the comments on request. Subject to widespread criticism, the decision is currently under review by the Court’s Grand Chamber.

"Surveying key court rulings from around the globe, the authors of the report found that the recognition of a right to anonymous speech varied widely from country to country but to some degree correlated with existing attitudes toward freedom of expression in general.”