Annual Lecture 2021: Disinformation in an Information Age: Ireland’s Response to a Global Challenge - Remarks by Professor Lorna Woods

Pagespp 190 - 193
Published date12 January 2022
Date12 January 2022
190
ANNUAL LECTURE 2021
DISINFORMATION IN AN INFORMATION
AGE: IRELAND’S RESPONSE TO A
GLOBAL CHALLENGE*
Remarks by
PROFESSOR LORNA WOODS**
I would like to begin with a general introduction on the topic of Disinformation
in an Information Age. Aer introducing this topic, I will delve into the model
of regulation that I have been working on with Carnegie UK Trust which oers
solutions to the problem of disinformation.
e problem of disinformation and misinformation is a global issue. is issue
is witnessed around the world; it is evidenced by the numerous international
bodies which aim to tackle this problem. ese include the International Grand
Committee on ‘Fake News, which took place in Ireland in 2019. e United
Nations Educational, Scientic and Cultural Organization has highlighted the
problem with its article on ‘e Pandemic and the Infodemic’ which examines the
deluge of inaccurate and misleading information around Covid-19. e European
Union (‘EU’) has an ‘Action Plan Against Disinformation’ which targets the
problem of disinformation more generally.
Given the global nature of the problem, we have to consider whether national
solutions are sucient or whether we need some form of coordination between
nations. I do not go so far as to suggest that an international treaty is required to
address the problem. I simply suggest, at a minimum, that national regulators alone
will not be sucient to address the issue. We need also to take into account the
distinction between disinformation and misinformation. Further, the nature and
severity of any problem will depend on the context in which the misinformation or
* e Hibernian Law Journal is very grateful to each of the three speakers at our Annual Lecture
given on 27 April 2021. Given the nature of our publication, it was unfortunately not possible to
reproduce the detailed slides which accompanied each speaker’s presentation. However, copies of
the slides are available on request to: editor@hibernianlawjournal.com.
** Professor Lorna Woods is a professor of Internet Law in the Law School at University of Essex
and a member of the Human Rights Centre there. Formerly a practising solicitor in a technology,
media and telecommunications practice, she continued her interest in these elds in her teaching
and research as an academic. Her current project, with Carnegie UK Trust, is on the regulation of
social media, work which has received policy recognition in the UK and beyond and in respect
of which she was awarded an OBE. Any views or opinions expressed in this piece are the personal
views and opinions of the author.

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