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EU institutions and member States have recently proposed, and in some cases adopted, several legislative texts which directly affect the legal status of responsibilities and liability of online platforms. Such legislation covers a wide range of topics, including privacy, national security, audiovisual media services, and copyright, and raises relevant issues vis-a-vis the current liability exemption regime established in the so-called e-commerce Directive. Despite the fact that this regime formally remains untouched and valid, legislative changes are progressively eroding its main principles and showing a tendency towards transforming online intermediary platforms into private regulatory bodies (in terms of rule-making, interpretation, and enforcement). What are the risks of such tendency vis-a-vis freedom of expression? Which are the current debates in the EU on these matters? What is the impact of the case law of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights?
Joan Barata is an international expert in freedom of expression, freedom of information and media regulation. As a scholar, he has spoken and done extensive research in these areas, working and collaborating with various universities and academic centers, from Asia to Africa and America, authoring papers, articles and books, and addressing specialized Parliament committees. He was Principal Adviser to the Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as Secretary General of the Catalan Audio-Visual Council in Spain, while also being a member of the Secretariat of the Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities. As an international expert, Joan has provided advice to international organizations, NGOs, Governments, legislators and regulators in most regions of the world, including Africa, Asia and Latin America. Joan spends most of him time leaping from one continent to the other, having one constant in the ever changing landscape: his awesome kid in Barcelona.