Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Why Governments Censor: Comparing Content Removal Requests Between Regimes

APIR seminar with Daniëlle Flonk (Hertie School)

We cordially invite you to the next session of our workshop series on Authoritarian Politics and International Relations at WZB!

Daniëlle Flonk will present a paper discussing Why Governments Censor: Comparing content Removal Requests Between Regimes.

Governments increasingly pressure intermediaries like Google to remove internet content from their platforms. Internet governance via intermediaries utilizes intermediaries for controlling content, seeing them as tools in a toolbox for censorship, in order to reach specific end goals. However, content regulation was for a considerable time in public perception and academic discourse linked to authoritarian control. Daniëlle argues that regimes have to determine whether the goal of content control outweighs institutional and electoral costs while at the same time being constrained by national and international liberal values. In order to test this argument, she compares the internet censorship practices of different regime types by estimating a negative binomial hurdle model using evidence from transparency reports. Daniëlle finds that content control between liberal democratic, electoral democratic, electoral autocratic and closed autocratic regimes depends on the type of content targeted. Although democracies control less overall content than authoritarian regimes, they are quite effective in targeting security content but protect political content more than autocracies. Hence, the results provide a more complex and nuanced picture of internet censorship than the literature has acknowledged so far.

The paper is available upon request.

The seminar series aims at bringing together scholars from Comparative Politics and International Relations. We invite papers combining comparative authoritarianism and IR, as well as contributions that help clarify important theoretical concepts and empirical patterns in either discipline. Colleagues interested in presenting in the workshop series should email Alex Tokhi (alexandros.tokhi [at] wzb.eu) or Alex Schmotz (alexander.schmotz [at] wzb.eu).

When: Once a month on a Tuesday afternoon (see dates below)

Where: WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Room A305

What: A classic format: 90 minute research seminar with one paper presentation (15 min), one discussant (10), and plenty of time for Q&A

Who: All scholars from WZB and the Berlin area and anyone interested in authoritarian politics and/or international relations

The next sessions you can find here.