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URPP Digital Religion(s)

The Digital Turn of Religions: New Challenges for Law in Cyberspace

The project "The Digital Turn of Religions: New Challenges for Law in Cyberspace" is situated on the meta-level: Rather than religious creeds, this project is concerned with legal regulation. Such regulation still takes place primarily at the national level.

But in the digital context, such national regulation is only feasible to a very limited degree or not at all. From the perspective of jurisprudence, the elimination of borders has significant consequences: namely, head-on collisions between very different conceptions regarding freedom of speech and freedom of religion. As for the regulation of statements of opinion about religion, anti-blasphemy laws are nothing new, and the tension between freedom of religion and freedom of expression is equally familiar.

Accordingly, this project is not only concerned with the “legal protection of religions in cyber space,” but also with the limits of such protection (“legal limits of protecting religions in cyberspace”).

The question here is whether the digital medium poses new challenges not only from a technological point of view, but also in terms of content—that is, whether current legal categorizations and differentiations in relation to freedom of religion and freedom of expression maintain their validity or whether a concept such as "hate speech" needs to be defined differently in a digital context. This is precisely where the international level will be important, for the aforementioned dissolution of national borders entails that regulation needs to take place on an international level.


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