The International Rounds of the 10th Annual Price Media Law Moot Court Competition were held at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford between 3-7th April, 2017. 38 teams from across the world participated in the competition, ranging from the University of Lagos, Nigeria (who won the first ever West African Regional Rounds) to the University of San Carlos, Philippines. The competition is organised every year by the Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies within the Faculty of Law and gathers students from across the globe.
This year’s problem was set in the fictional country of Amostra and focused on the speech made by the political commentator, Ms. Ballaya which was published on global social media platform, SeeSey. It raised important issues of the transparency within the law, the boundaries of free speech and state censorship, as well as the regulation of large social media platforms such as SeeSey. This year also marked the 10th Anniversary of the competition and in celebration of this, a one-day seminar titled “A Global Onslaught On Existing Speech Norms And Institutions: Coping With Hate Speech, Fake News And Online Violent Extremism” was organised on 3rd April, 2017.
The team representing the University of Oxford comprised of two undergraduate students, Mr. Alex Benn (St. Catherine’s) and Ms. Ioana Burtea (Merton), and was coached by Ms. Mansi Sood (MSc Candidate, Balliol). After defeating several strong teams including the University of Amsterdam and the University of San Carlos, Philippines, the team had a chance to compete in a scintillating Grand Final against the Singapore Management University. This is only the second time that Oxford has reached the Grand Final of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition.
The panel for the Grand Final consisted of several eminent judges including Sir Nicholas Bratza (Former President of the European Court of Human Rights), Justice Kate O’Regan (Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa), Monika Bickert (Head of Policy Management at Facebook) and Dr. Harjinder Obhi (Director of Litigation at Google). In a very closely contested final round, the team lost out by a narrow margin and were declared Overall Runners Up. Both Mr. Benn (5th place) and Ms. Burtea (9th place) were also in the top 10 speakers at the competition.
The Oxford team was generously funded by the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights, Faculty of Law.