A legal analysis of online intimidation tactics that aim to silence environmental defenders

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Criminal law
    • Environmental law
    • Human rights law
    • Information law
freedom of expression freedom of assembly environmental procedural rights right to private life online intimidation stalking positive obligations chilling effect defamation
Project description

The proposed research analyses online intimidation of individuals who speak out or report on environmental matters. The chilling effect of such practices can create an environment in which public and social watchdogs are less likely to express their opinions or report on certain issues in order to prevent further harassment, which essentially restricts their human rights (freedom of expression, right to privacy and right to association and assembly) and procedural environmental rights (Aarhus Convention).

Firstly, this project investigates which forms of online intimidation are used against environmental defenders. In essence, this study will investigate to what extent the existing legislation at the national and/or European level applies to these relatively recent forms of intimidation and offers sufficient remedies in order to guarantee human and procedural environmental rights. The project will determine to what extent amendments to the current legislation are needed at national and/or European level to ensure a strong public debate on environmental issues in which those who speak up, inform, criticise or raise awareness are not silenced.