Free Speech Under Pressure: The Effect of Online Harassment on Literary Writers

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Free Speech Under Pressure: The Effect of Online Harassment on Literary Writers


  • Juliane Wegner Institute for Media Research, University of Rostock, Germany
  • Elizabeth Prommer Institute for Media Research, University of Rostock, Germany
  • Carlos Collado Seidel Department of History and Cultural Studies, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany


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Abstract:  In the perception of writers in Germany, free speech is under strong pressure. A survey study, in which 526 literature writers took part, reveals innumerable aspects of hate speech, online harassment, and even physical assaults. Every second person has already experienced assaults on his or her person and is also aware of attacks on colleagues. Three quarters are concerned about freedom of expression in Germany and complain of an increase in threats, intimidation, and hateful reactions. The research project was developed in collaboration between the Institute for Media Research, University of Rostock, and the PEN Center Germany.

Keywords:  democratic discourse; freedom of expression; hate speech; self-censorship

Published:   15 October 2020


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i4.3252


© Juliane Wegner, Elizabeth Prommer, Carlos Collado Seidel. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.