Reconsidering the ‘Right to be Forgotten’: Memory rights and the right to memory in the new media era

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33 Scopus citations


In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) established the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ (RtbF). Since its establishment, more than 500,000 people filed requests with Google to be ‘de-listed’ from its search. At the same time, the Court’s decision has stirred debates focused on the tension the decision raised between a person’s right to privacy and freedom of expression. This study offers, yet, a different reading of the decision and its meaning. It first outlines the theoretical foundations of the concept of memory and its relation to rights. Then, it focuses on media, memory, and the RtbF. Afterward, the study discusses the legal origins of the RtbF and claims that the right is actually a right to construct one’s narrative. Therefore, in order to analyze the RtbF, this study places it within memory studies and analyzes it through its tools. From this perspective, this study criticizes the emphasis placed on forgetting in the definition of the right and problematizes its focus on individuals. Eventually, this study uses the legitimization the RtbF gives to a new discourse about memory in relation to rights in order to suggest an extended ‘right to memory’ that will answer the memory needs of our time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-660
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • The Right to be Forgotten
  • collective memory
  • cultural memory
  • forgetting
  • freedom of expression
  • privacy
  • right to memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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