Global Fake News and Defamation Symposium


Event Details 

Fake News and Weaponized Defamation: Global Perspectives
January 26, 2018, 9am - 5pm
Southwestern Law School Campus
3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Concept Note:

The notion of “fake news” has gained great currency in global popular culture in the wake of contentious social-media imbued elections in the United States and Europe. Although often associated with the rise of extremist voices in political discourse and, specifically, an agenda to “deconstruct” the power of government, institutional media, and the scientific establishment, fake news is "new wine in old bottles," a phenomenon that has long historical roots in government propaganda, jingoistic newspapers, and business-controlled public relations. In some countries, dissemination of “false news” is a crime that is used to stifle dissent. This broad conception of fake news not only acts to repress evidence-based inquiry of government, scientists, and the press; but it also diminishes the power of populations to seek informed consensus on policies such as climate change, healthcare, race and gender equality, religious tolerance, national security, drug abuse, poverty, homophobia, and government corruption, among others.

"Weaponized defamation” refers to the increasing invocation, and increasing use, of defamation and privacy torts by people in power to threaten press investigations, despite laws protecting responsible or non-reckless reporting. In the United States, for example, some politicians, including the current president, invoke defamation as both a sword and shield. Armed with legal power that individuals—and most news organizations—cannot match, politicians and celebrities, wealthy or backed by the wealth of others, can threaten press watchdogs with resource-sapping litigation; at the same time, some leaders appear to leverage their “lawyered-up” legal teams to make knowingly false attacks—or recklessly repeat the false attacks of others—with impunity.

  1. Scheduled Paper Presenters and Speakers

    Russell L. Weaver, University of Lousville

    Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Berkeley

    David Goldberg, University of London and Southwestern Law School

    Monroe Price, Cardozo Law School

    Kyu Ho Youm, University of Oregon

    Elena Sherstoboeva, Moscow Higher School of Economics

    Roy S. Gutterman, Newhouse School at Syracuse University

    Andrei Richter, Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe

    Alexander Heinze, University of Gottingen

    Anthony Fargo, Indiana University

    Roberto Mastroaianni, University of Naples

    Christopher Terry, University of Minnesota

    David Acheson, University of Kent

    Helen Norton, University of Colorado

    Hillary A.N. Young, University of New Brunswick

    Teresa Rodriguez de las Heras Ballel, Univerisidad Carlos III de Madrid

    Mirela Zupan, University in Osijeck, Croatia

    Wesley Pippert, University of Missouri

    Rachel L. Jones, University of North Carolina

    Wannes Vandenbussche, Yale Law School

    Jane Kirtley, University of Minnesota

    Joan Barata Mir, Central European University

    Jelena Surculija Milojevic, University of Belgrade

    Charlie Holt, Greenpeace International

    Ahran Park, Korean Press Center

    Tommaso Tani, Leiden University

    partial list, subject to change

The Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law is a faculty-edited journal published by the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute at Southwestern Law School, in cooperation with the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law, and the ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries.

The Southwestern Law Review and the Southwestern Journal of International Law are honors publications edited by students at Southwestern Law School.