Author Archives: Ruairí Harrison

Ruairí Harrison

About Ruairí Harrison

Ruairí Harrison is a Junior Lecturer in European Law and a Junior Research Assistant in the ‘Digital’ Block of RENFORCE Research Centre at Utrecht University. After completing his European Law LLM in 2020, he published two articles on the EU’s response to both hate speech and disinformation respectively and completed a traineeship at the European Commission working on the upcoming Digital Services Act proposal. His areas of academic focus are the EU’s Digital Single Market, freedom of expression online, media freedom and disinformation moderation.

The EU’s Media Freedom Act – Bolstering Core Union Values through the Narrow Prism of the Internal Market?

Credit: siam.pukkato (Shutterstock)

When the European Commission announced its upcoming Media Freedom Act (MFA) last year, many were taken aback by what seemed a bold step into the Fourth Pillar of Democracy. Yet within months of its announcement, the indispensable nature of a pluralistic media would be brought to bear beyond the former Eastern Bloc as Russian citizens fail to recognise the atrocities their armed forces are committing in Ukraine due to the non-existence of independent Russian media. As media freedom is also contracting in Europe, Ruairí Harrison assesses the Commission’s proposed approach to both reimagine and reinforce media freedom in the EU-27.

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Disinformation: The EU Commission’s response to the Covid-19 infodemic and the feasibility of a consumer-centric solution

By Ruairi Harrison

As conversations around the globe concerning the issue of online disinformation gather gravity and frequency, it is tempting to view disinformation as a 21st century problem. Yet this phenomenon can be traced back to Octavian’s grappling for power in the turbulent post-Caesar Civil War period. Here, the first Roman Emperor manipulated information concerning his first adversary, Marcus Antonius, using brief rhetorical notes engraved on coins and circulated around Rome. These notes painted his rival as a drunk, a womaniser and a headstrong soldier incapable of ruling an empire. They ultimately proved their effectiveness in gaining the public’s support and their simple, accessible form and message could be compared to a modern day ‘Tweet’. Think Trump calling the mail-in ballot system into disrepute in a series of easy-to-read tweets devoid of evidence. 

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