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Home / Event / Fake News, Free Speech, and Foreign Influence: The Smart Way the United States Can Combat Disinformation

Fake News, Free Speech, and Foreign Influence: The Smart Way the United States Can Combat Disinformation

January 23, 2018 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

On both sides of the Atlantic, the proliferation of false, harmful, and even illegal content online, particularly around elections, is fueling public scrutiny and driving calls for increased regulation of major internet intermediaries. In response, companies are strengthening internal standards and enforcement mechanisms that govern their respective corners of the contemporary “public square.” In some cases, governments have already intervened. Meanwhile, civil society groups, journalists, and other members of an increasingly concerned public have advocated for counter-messaging, fact-checking, and early education programs on digital citizenship and media literacy.

Please join Human Rights First on Tuesday, January 23 for an event investigating the effectiveness of proposed responses in the fight against state-sponsored online disinformation, hate speech, and harassment campaigns, the impact of various interventions on free expression, and the guiding principles that should accompany emerging government, industry, and civil society responsibilities. This event is generously supported by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.

Fake News, Free Speech, and Foreign Influence:

The Smart Way the United States Can Combat Disinformation

When: Tuesday January 23, 2018, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Where: National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Fourth Estate Room, Washington, D.C.

RSVP Below



1:00 pm — 1:20pm: Welcome and Opening Remarks 

  • Rob Berschinski, Senior Vice President, Policy, Human Rights First
  • John Hempelmann, President, Board of Governors, Henry M. Jackson Foundatoin

1:20 pm — 2:35 pm: Panel One: Fault Lines Exposed: Learning Lessons from Russia’s Online Influence Campaigns 

This panel will bring together experts on Russian disinformation, modern media, and propaganda to discuss the threats posed by Russian influence operations, examine the extent to which the lessons learned can feed into effective responses, and identify major opportunities and challenges on the horizon.

  • Jamie Fly, Senior Fellow and Director, Future of Geopolitics, Asia Program, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund
  • Nina Jankowicz, George F. Kennan Fellow, Wilson Center
  • Amy MacKinnon, Development Editor at Coda Story
  • Moderated by Melissa Hooper, Director, Human Rights and Civil Society, Human Rights First

2:45 pm — 4:00 pm: Panel Two: Building Rights-Respecting Partnerships and Responses to Combat Disinformation, Hate Speech, and other Harmful Content Online 

This panel will explore the potentially harmful consequences of contemporary trends in private governance of online content, as well as the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to counter disinformation, hate speech, and other harmful content online. It will outline appropriate obligations and incentives to ensure buy-in from stakeholders for effective and rights-based responses to the threat posed by hate speech and politically motivated disinformation, and address the applicability of established free speech doctrines to the unique challenges posed by the contemporary information environment.

  • Tiffany Li, Resident Fellow, Yale Law School, Information Society Project and Head of the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information
  • Emma Llansó, Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Jason Pielemeier, Policy Director, Global Network Initiative 
  • Moderated by Shanthi Kalanthil, Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy

Snacks and Refreshments to be Served