Date of this Version
This article illustrates how borders currently are being placed within the Internet through a combination of jurisdictional claims and technical developments. It makes clear that these borders are transforming the Internet from an open, and virtually global, communications network, into something that more resembles our physical world divided by borders of different kinds. It submits that, in light of the threat of such an undesirable development, we must re-examine the possibility of treating the Internet as a separate space. Such a space must be approached in a context-specific manner. In other words, we must deal with each legal issue separately. Furthermore, if states ever are to be inclined to give up their claims to regulating the Internet, alternative forms of regulation must be put in place; relying on self-regulation is not an option today. In addition, an appropriate judiciary must be put in place, and effective enforcement must be ensured.
Focusing on Internet defamation, the article highlights how a well-recognized regulatory framework is already in place through the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that an adjudicative body exists in the United Nation's Human Rights Committee. Drawing upon these existing mechanisms, a Convention Model to regulate cross-border Internet defamation arising out of mass-communication is presented.
This document has been peer reviewed.