Ethan Shattock, Maynooth University, winner of the 2019 Dublin Law and
Politics Review Writing Competition
This paper considers the problem of disinformation or “fake news” as a threat to electoral integrity, and the interrelated European fundamental rights that are implicated. While false and misleading information online is increasingly pervasive, Irish law and policy makers must take care not to engage in regulatory solutions that do not take into account protections for
freedom of expression, under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). in light of this caveat, this paper examines how law and policy makers must firstly frame this problem in a manner that is congruent with a human rights approach. In order for Irish policy solutions to be effective and proportionate, critical considerations are addressed
that probe how policy makers can mediate fundamental rights to freedom of expression with the need to protect electoral security and secure optimal conditions wherein citizens can effectively exercise their right to free elections, protected by Article 3 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In doing so, it is outlined how initial steps
can be taken from law makers to develop effective regulatory solutions to disinformation while refraining from overstepping important boundaries related to fundamental rights such as freedom of expression.
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