Digital media and human rights

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Daniel Joyce combines his research in international law, media law and human rights in this project which aims to develop a broader understanding of human rights in a digital age, focusing on the problems and possibilities associated with digital media.  The project maps out, and critically explores, areas where digital media and human rights intersect, as in debates regarding the utility of social media advocacy, big data, and digital forms of evidence and witnessing.  The research project considers international human rights law’s regulatory significance and reach online (notably in areas such as freedom of expression, hate speech and privacy), but also examines the increasing weight attached to digital media processes and tools in the field of human rights advocacy, co-ordination and enforcement.

In recent years the Centre has held events relating to social media and human rights, the neglected right to protest and media witnessing.  Currently Daniel is involved with the Data Associations in Global Law and Policy project with Fleur Johns and Lyria Bennett Moses.  Further details can be found here.

Daniel has developed a body of research which examines digital human rights, international media regulation, mediatization, digital forms of activism and witnessing.  He has spoken in Sydney, Miami, Melbourne, Berlin and Beijing on the interaction between digital forms of media and human rights, and the significance of new media for the field.  He has also spoken in Melbourne and Cambridge on the place of freedom of speech within developing international media laws and the challenges associated with translation of traditional human rights concerns, such as speech, online. 

Kirsty Hughes from Clare College, Cambridge visited the Centre in April 2014 and gave presentations on privacy law and the right to protest.  In 2014 Daniel participated in the Third Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law in Melbourne where he presented research on ‘Internet freedom as a human right’.  Along with Centre member Gabrielle Simm, Daniel gave a paper on international law and film at the ESIL 10th Anniversary Conference in Vienna which explored questions of media representation in relation to torture and targeted killing.

An issue of the Human Rights Defender brings together many of the themes relating to the project through the topic of media and human rights.  In 2015 Daniel and Ben Golder gave a presentation at ANU on human rights teaching and the use of film.  In 2015 Daniel participated in a conference at the Free University in Berlin on IHL and law-making where he discussed the role of public opinion and the media.  In 2016 Daniel presented his work on international law, the media and agenda-setting at Queen Mary London and at the European University Institute.

There is also a teaching dimension.  Daniel has developed a postgraduate elective on ‘Media and Human Rights’ which gives UNSW students the opportunity to study in depth issues relating to the project.  The project welcomes future research collaboration in this emergent field of digital media and human rights.  Current research examines big data, digital privacy, internet regulation, digital fact-finding and evidence.


Selected relevant publications include:

Daniel Joyce, "Data Associations and the Protection of Reputation Online in Australia" (2017) 4(1) Big Data & Society 1-10

Daniel Joyce and Gabrielle Simm, "Zero Dark Thirty: International Law, Torture and Representation" in International Law and... Select Proceedings of the European Society of International Law, Vol 5, 2014 (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2016)

"Internet Freedom and Human Rights" (2015) 26(2) European Journal of International Law 493; Jean Monnet Working Paper 03/15

(with Gabrielle Simm), "Zero Dark Thirty: international law, film and representation" (2015) 3(2) London Review of International Law 295

"Privacy in the Digital Era - Human Rights Online?" (2015) 16(1) Melbourne Journal of International Law 270

(with Fleur Johns), "Beyond privacy. Is Prevailing Legal Debate too Analog for a Digital Age?" (2014) 23(3) Human Rights Defender 24

"Media Witnesses: Human Rights in an Age of Digital Media" (2013) 8 Intercultural Human Rights Law Review 232

“New Media Witnessing and Human Rights” (2011) 20(1) Human Rights Defender 23

"Photography and the Image-Making of International Justice" (2010) 4 Law and Humanities 229

"Human Rights and the Mediatization of International Law" (2010) 23 Leiden Journal of International Law 507



photo credit: Andrew Kuznetsov