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Emory International Law Review Recent Developments

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With the growth of Internet and social media usage, state regulatory action to surveil and censor citizens is running rampant. As the principle of self-determination stands, minority populations are typically bearing the brunt of these attacks, receiving little protection under domestic and international law. Self-determination within international law must be restructured into a definitive pathway that includes protecting the freedom of speech to encourage discourse and tolerance between the State and its minority populations. This article proposes a solution that could fill the gap in international law formed by insufficient domestic rule in States that neglect to protect these populations in the age of the Internet.

By incorporating the freedom of speech into the principle of self-determination, States would be encouraged to think before detrimentally enabling censorship as the primary means to protect territorial integrity and State security. History reflects that by restricting the speech and identity of individuals, conflict becomes inevitable. This is vividly illustrated by the centuries-long cultural crusade in Catalonia by the Spanish government. It has been proven repeatedly that people will not sit by quietly while their cultural, political, or social structure is erased. To prevent future conflict, people must know that they have a voice that will be heard. Social media accomplished this.

This publication is a shortened form of the original article which contains a second case study on the Hong Kong independence movement. The full version is available on request to the author.



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