IAS Fellow at Josephine Butler College, January – March 2024
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Dr Peter Coe is an Associate Professor in Law at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham. His research interests fall within the broad field of Media Law. A primary theme within his research agenda is the changing nature of journalism, and what this means, both normatively and theoretically, for free speech, press freedom and regulation. He is particularly interested in how the development of the internet, and the ascendancy of social media platforms, have altered the press industry and our media and communication ecology more broadly, and how this has led to significant transformative effects on the public sphere by changing the way we generate, publish, and consume information, and how we engage in public discourse generally. Dr Coe has also written widely on defamation law, the protection of reputation and privacy. His work in these areas has been published in leading international journals, and his monograph, Media Freedom in the Age of Citizen Journalism, was published by Edward Elgar in 2021. He is the co-editor, with Professor Paul Wragg, of Landmark Cases in Privacy Law, which was published by Hart in 2023, and the co-author, with Dr David Acheson, of Principles of Defamation Law, which will be published by Edward Elgar in 2024.
Dr Coe’s research has led to several external appointments. For example, in 2022 he was appointed by the Council of Europe as an independent member of the Council’s Expert Committee on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs). In the same year, he was appointed as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Reading, and in 2021 he was invited to join the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Information Law and Policy Centre as an Associate Research Fellow. His work on citizen journalism, press freedom and regulation led to him being invited to join the Impress Code Committee to support its review of its Standards Code for journalists, and between October 2021 and January 2022 he was engaged by Impress to draft its new Standards Code. During 2021-2022, upon invitation from the International Academy of Comparative Law and British Association of Comparative Law, Dr Coe acted as the UK’s National Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News.
At Durham, Dr Coe will work with Professor Helen Fenwick and Professor Patrick Zuk on an IAS major research project titled ‘Understanding Offence: delimiting the (un)sayable’. The purpose of the project is to interrogate offence from multiple disciplinary perspectives to deepen our comprehension of the phenomenon. The project will, inter alia, analyse the complexities inherent in attempting to formulate normative definitions of ‘offence’ that can be applied in legal and other regulatory frameworks, and appraise the practical challenges of regulating ‘offence’ in the modern world (especially on digital platforms). Ultimately, it is hoped that the project will provide a platform for further multidisciplinary research in the form of a larger programme of work funded by an external body.