Misinformation in Referenda: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Misinformation in Referenda

1st Edition

Edited by Sandrine Baume, Véronique Boillet, Vincent Martenet


344 pages

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Hardback: 9780367224035
pub: 2020-07-07
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This book identifies the impact of misinformation in the context of referenda.

While the notion of misinformation is at the center of current events and is the subject of several studies, it has rarely been addressed in the context of referenda nor from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective. This book fills this gap. Different legal orders have been chosen because of their extensive referendum practices, namely, California, Switzerland and Italy; a recent legislative process on the issue of misinformation, Germany and France; or recent experience with a vote during which it was considered that false information had been disseminated, Brexit and Catalan independence. 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?;

Sorin Baiasu;

2. Why informed opinions matter for democracy and why misinformation should not be underestimated in referendum processes;

Sandrine Baume;

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;

Laurent Bernhard;

Part II – Judicial remedies;

5. Judicial remedies in a comparative perspective;

Andreas Glaser;

6. Direct democracy, misinformation, and judicial review in the United States;

Amanda L. Tyler;

7. Judicial remedies in Switzerland;

Vincent Martenet;

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;

Thomas Hochmann;

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;

Patrick Taillon;

14. All fake? Information disorders and the 2017 referendum in Catalonia;

Oscar Barberà;


Sandrine Baume, Véronique Boillet and Vincent Martenet;

About the Editors

Sandrine Baume is an 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 an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice and Public Administration of the University of Lausanne.

Vincent Martenet is a Full Professor for Constitutional Law and Competition Law at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LAW / General
LAW / Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Communications
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / Public
LAW / Media & the Law
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Commentary & Opinion
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Communication Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Corruption & Misconduct