The book identifies the impact of misinformation in the context of referenda. While the notion of misinformation is at the centre of current events and is the subject of several studies, it has rarely been addressed in the context of referenda or from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective. This book fills this gap. Different legal orders have been chosen because of their extensive referendum practices (California and Switzerland); a recent legislative process on the issue of misinformation (Germany, France, and Canada); or recent experience with a vote during which it was considered that false information had been disseminated (Brexit, Catalan independence, and Italian constitutional referendum of 2016). By bringing together authors from the political and legal sciences, the book focuses on combining the expertise of researchers from different backgrounds and origins in order to propose innovative solutions. In this regard, the book is characterized by the fact that it does not aim to combat misinformation per se, but develops suggestions meant to guarantee the conditions of formation of the political will during referenda.
The book will be an invaluable resource for legal scholars, political scientists, and specialists of political communication. Outside the world of academia, the book may draw the attention of policy-makers, practitioners, and journalists confronted with the challenges of misinformation or disinformation.
Table of Contents
Krista B. Nadakavukaren Schefer;
Part I – Misinformation disorder, misuse of statistics, and fact-checking;
1. Sincerity in politics: How much is too much?;
2. Why informed opinions matter for democracy and why misinformation should not be underestimated in referendum processes;
3. The (mis)use of statistics in referendum votes;
Anke Tresch and Lukas Lauener;
4. Fact-checking direct democracy: When journalists set out to correct misinformation;
Part II – Judicial remedies;
5. Judicial remedies in a comparative perspective;
6. Direct democracy, misinformation, and judicial review in the United States;
Amanda L. Tyler;
7. Judicial remedies in Switzerland;
8. Securing rational discourse surrounding referenda in Germany;
Bernd Holznagel and Maximilian Hemmert-Halswick;
Part III – Evolution of regulation;
9. Online disinformation and freedom of expression in the democratic context: The European and Italian responses;
Oreste Pollicino and Laura Somaini;
10. Tackling misinformation in referendums: Lessons from anglophone democracies;
Alan Renwick and Micaela Palese;
11. How to define misinformation? The French attempt;
12. The guarantee of political rights in view of misinformation: Is new regulation needed for Swiss referenda?;
Michel Besson and Véronique Boillet;
13. From veracity to traceability: A new Canadian legal framework for deliberative referenda;
14. All fake? Information disorders and the 2017 referendum in Catalonia;
Sandrine Baume, Véronique Boillet and Vincent Martenet;
Sandrine Baume is Associate Professor of Political Theory and History of Political Thought at the Centre for Public Law of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Véronique Boillet is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the Centre for Public Law of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Vincent Martenet is Full Professor of Constitutional Law and Competition Law at the Centre for Public Law of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.