Indirect mechanisms of censorship
: from Iran's press and cultural media industry towards a general theory of indirect censorship

  • Omid Shams Gakieh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis aims to establish a general theoretical framework for indirect mechanisms of censorship. The law is gradually adopting a broader concept of censorship. However, the current conceptualisations of censorship either lack comprehensiveness or have not established a clear relation between a new conceptualisation of censorship and the existing legal framework of the right to freedom of expression, a shortcoming that this thesis addresses. We ask how we can study and categorise the widest range of censorship mechanisms and aggregate diverse and sometimes conflicting conceptualisations of the term from a primarily legal standpoint. We suggest the dichotomy of direct and indirect censorship as a theoretical basis which is compatible with the existing legal framework of the right to freedom of expression. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this thesis extracts a definition of indirect censorship from a legal viewpoint by examining regional and international case law on freedom of expression. It then strengthens the definition by adding, from a sociological viewpoint, an insight on the role of non-legal norms as a means of indirect censorship, which is largely overlooked in the conceptualisations of the term from a legal viewpoint. Based on this definition and using Iran as a case study, we provide an exhaustive catalogue of indirect mechanisms of censorship.
The significance of this research is that it informs our understanding of contemporary mechanisms of censorship by providing a general theory of indirect censorship and emphasising the necessity of recognising the growing threat of utilising these mechanisms of covert nature by the regional and international human rights instruments.
Date of Award13 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorPanos Kapotas (Supervisor), Susana Sampaio-Dias (Supervisor) & Andrew Timothy Thorpe (Supervisor)

Cite this

'