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Fake News – Freedom of Expression in a Digital Age

Expression is arguably what gives us a purpose for participating and engaging with current affairs, hundreds of thousands if not millions have died fighting to protect their right to expression or in search for it. In recent years expression is coming to the forefront of most societies, and the pursuit to exercise one’s freedom of expression is evidential in today’s modern societies. Whether it be in Ireland with the last three referendums or in Hong Kong, expression is something that we are willing to put ourselves in the firing line for. However, whilst freedom of expression is for the most part a good thing, we also have the likes of Far-Right groups and politicians expressing their beliefs. With the likes of the United Kingdom Leaving the EU and the “rise of national populists across Europe, like Marine Le Pen in France, Matteo Salvini in Italy and Viktor Orban in Hungry” (Eatwell & Goodwin, 2018) or even the use incitement of hatred over the use of Social Media but also in traditional print media too; from Donald Trump’s rants to Israel Folau’s justification for his religious based opinions, or a Guardian article claiming that David Cameron losing a child was a “privileged pain.” The question arises, are there cases where expression should be limited? John Stuart Mill, in his essay “On Liberty” provides a practical solution.

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Law of Consent

In a recent interview the new Minister for Children, law lecturer Roderic O’Gorman referenced the inconsistency in the law around consent in Ireland: “a lot of confusion was brought in, I’d say maybe in 2004-2005…I think that whole are needs to be examined again”. Indeed, the law of consent has had a contentious history in the state and although it reached fever pitch in 2006, the debate has not subsided.

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Comet NEOWISE: Once in 6,800 Years

Comet NEOWISE is a once-in-a-lifetime comet that is nearly three miles long and is visible to the naked eye for most of the month of July! NEOWISE is technically called C/2020 F3, but is colloquially known by the name of the telescope which first discovered its existence in 2013.

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Trump, Tiktok, and the Long History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States

In an entirely unsurprising turn of events, President Trump has threatened to ban the download and use of Chinese social media apps within the United States, the most popular of which is Tiktok, an app that has amassed a massive worldwide user base over the past two years. Late last year, however, suspicions began to arise over the vulnerability of the app to malicious hacking attempts, and there were also allegations that Tiktok is essentially a mode of spyware that is actively gathering large amounts of data from users who have the app installed on their phone. This accusation against a specific app raises several questions though, why is it that the American population is still permitted to use Facebook despite its well-known abuse of user data and its refusal to censor misleading political posts, but an app with a similarly American CEO is deemed a threat to democracy due to its inception on Chinese soil? The potential for racially-motivated mistrust of Chinese products in the age of the Chinese Communist Party’s emergence as a global superpower cannot simply be cast aside, especially given the Trump Administration’s track record in regard to its handling of racialised social issues.

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