Freedom of Tweet: Censorship, Governments, Marketers & The Law

Event Info

Tue 14 Feb, 2012 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Design Council
34 Bow Street
London, WC2E 7DL, UK (Map)
Cost: Free (RSVP Required)


The last 12 months have shown us just how truly transformative the Internet can be: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Wikileaks and the continued aggregation of private data into global corporates.

But with great power, comes great responsibility. From individual users, to the corporate world, to governments and lawmakers the challenges are coming thick and fast: from the courtroom to the boardroom to the living room.

This global keynote interview features Mark Stephens CBE, one of the UK’s leading legal minds, a veteran of Wikileaks & Hackgate, reknowned for his take on global freedom of speech and censorship.

The Internet may (almost) seamlessly cross international boundaries, but the same can’t be said for legislation, regulation and those who police the online realm.

Who says what’s safe? What’s acceptable? To paraphrase A Few Good Men, “Son, we live in a world that has (fire)walls, and those (fire)walls have to be guarded by men with keyboards”.

This interview, including plenty of time for Q&A will look at:

  • Commercial guardians of private data: Facebook, AOL and the implications for the future
  • The apparent creeping censorship and Twitter’s new T&Cs that enable pre-country filtering
  • The law of unintended consequences and knee-jerk legislation: Digital Economy Act, SOPA, PIPA
  • Social media in the court room and its impact on the relationship between jurors, judges, lawyers and reporters
  • The criminalisation of speech around the world, free press and the impact on journalists and publishers

Watch now on Livestream


3pm - Doors open

3.15pm - Interview session
- discussion with Mark Stephens
- audience Q&A

4.30pm - Session wrap-up

4.45pm - Close



Mark Stephens CBEMark Stephens CBE
Senior Partner, Finers Stephens Innocent (@markslarks)

Mark Stephens is a Senior Partner of law firm, Finers Stephens Innocent LLP ("FSI"). Mark specialises in Media & Regulatory work, Defamation, Privacy, Media, Art and Cultural property, Data protection and Freedom of Information, Intellectual property and International, Appellate and Complex litigation, Constitutional, Human Rights. Mark has undertaken some of the highest profile cases in the country and abroad.

Mark is also extremely active in many other areas having been appointed by the Foreign Secretary to the FCO Free Expression advisory board and the Lord Chancellor to be a Champion for the Community Legal Service.

Mark's clients range from major international media organisations to small print publications to individual artists.  They include international broadcasters and newspapers, publishers and distributors, dotcom companies, museums and galleries, artists, photographers and designers.  
FSI acts for Thomson Reuters and together they assisted the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications in its consideration of the future for investigative journalism.

In addition, Mark has been intimately involved in the phone hacking cases, representing 18 claimants, including two of the lead claimants in the "Victim of Crime" category.  He has also represented numerous celebrities and sportsmen in high profile cases and is also considering taking personal proceedings against News International for the hacking of his own phone.

Mark advises film and TV producers on all aspects of production, finance and distribution, including putting together and structuring the film and TV investment house, Greenhouse Media Investment and advising on John Landis’ new film.  We are also involved in providing Ofcom compliance advice for Bloomberg, CNN and producers of documentaries.

Mark was awarded a CBE in June 2011 for his services to the arts as well as to civil liberties. Mark chairs a number of bodies including the Contemporary Art Society, the University of East London, the Management Committee of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy Wolfson College, Oxford Centre for Socio Legal Studies and sits on the board as a Trustee of Index of Censorship, the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and Human Rights Council of the International Bar Association.

In December 2009, Mark first appeared in “Who’s Who” where he is described as “lawyer, broadcaster; writer; lecturer”.    

Mark regularly appears in print and on radio and television and he can be found on Twitter @MarksLarks.

Kathryn CorrickInterviewer: Kathryn Corrick
Digital Media Consultant (@kcorrick)

Kathryn's decade of digital media experience spans McCann Erickson, Digital Britain, New Statesman magazine and the Online News Association. As well as being an independent communications consultant Kathryn is Journalist in Residence at Kingston University.


Javascript is required to view this map.


Email / 020 7183 2923