Free Speech Debate

Thirteen languages. Ten principles. One conversation.

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1We – all human beings – must be free and able to express ourselves, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, regardless of frontiers.»
2We defend the internet and all other forms of communication against illegitimate encroachments by both public and private powers.»
3We require and create open, diverse media so we can make well-informed decisions and participate fully in political life.»
4We speak openly and with civility about all kinds of human difference.»
5We allow no taboos in the discussion and dissemination of knowledge.»
6We neither make threats of violence nor accept violent intimidation.»
7We respect the believer but not necessarily the content of the belief.»
8We are all entitled to a private life but should accept such scrutiny as is in the public interest.»
9We should be able to counter slurs on our reputations without stifling legitimate debate.»
10We must be free to challenge all limits to freedom of expression and information justified on such grounds as national security, public order, morality and the protection of intellectual property.»

What’s missing?

Is there a vital area we have not addressed? A principle 11? An illuminating case study? Read other people's suggestions and add your own here. Or start the debate in your own language.


Have your say!
Help us work on the principles below
so they work for you.
1We – all human beings – must be free and able to express ourselves, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, regardless of frontiers.»
2We defend the internet and all other forms of communication against illegitimate encroachments by both public and private powers.»
3We require and create open, diverse media so we can make well-informed decisions and participate fully in political life.»
4We speak openly and with civility about all kinds of human difference.»
5We allow no taboos in the discussion and dissemination of knowledge.»
6We neither make threats of violence nor accept violent intimidation.»
7We respect the believer but not necessarily the content of the belief.»
8We are all entitled to a private life but should accept such scrutiny as is in the public interest.»
9We should be able to counter slurs on our reputations without stifling legitimate debate.»
10We must be free to challenge all limits to freedom of expression and information justified on such grounds as national security, public order, morality and the protection of intellectual property.»

What’s missing?

Is there a vital area we have not addressed? A principle 11? An illuminating case study? Read other people's suggestions and add your own here. Or start the debate in your own language.


Readers' comments

Slovakia's Roma Community Looking For Emigration Opportunities

The harms of hate speech legislation

Hate speech legislation chills freedom of expression more than it protects vulnerable minorities. Free speech lawyer Ivan Hare takes issue with Jeremy Waldron.

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When does hate speech become dangerous speech? Consider Kenya and Rwanda

The forthcoming trial of Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang poses vital questions about the connections between words and violence, argues Katherine Bruce-Lockhart.

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When does hate speech become dangerous speech? Consider Kenya and Rwanda

The forthcoming trial of Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang poses vital questions about the connections between words and violence, argues Katherine Bruce-Lockhart.

7887048118_2c41da8a9a_z

When does hate speech become dangerous speech? Consider Kenya and Rwanda

The forthcoming trial of Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang poses vital questions about the connections between words and violence, argues Katherine Bruce-Lockhart.

Highlights

Nineteen arguments for hate speech bans – and against them

Free speech scholar Eric Heinze identifies the main arguments for laws restricting hate speech and says none are valid for mature Western democracies.

Regulating hate speech: lessons for Asia

Cherian George on how hate speech is gaining virulence in Asian countries such as Myanmar, and how peace-building workshops represent a positive step forward.

How to make counter-speech sexy: on combating online hate speech and extremism

Kim Wilkinson reports on a counter-speech event held at Google London on creating the positive online.

The way Xi moves: free speech under assault in China

Shi Yige examines different approaches to censorship in China, and argues that while internet controls might avail the leadership in the short term, they are unsustainable.

Europe’s common tongue: bad English

Sebastian Huempfer reviews a new dictionary that may help native speakers better understand the European Union’s weird brand of the English language.

Homage to Catalan

Timothy Garton Ash introduces a translation of our ten principles into Catalan and a reflection on having Catalan as your native language.

Our draft principles and introduction in Catalan

Our draft principles, and Timothy Garton Ash's personal introduction, have been translated into Catalan.

The importance of speaking Catalan

Pere Vilanova reflects on his personal experience of learning his ‘native’ tongue – as a third language.

Oh no, evil goes viral!

Reader of Free Speech Debate “jagracie” asked us to write on the “appalling article written in Zimbabwe” and respond with something that could help readers hold hate speech to account. Dominic Burbidge gives his best suggestion.

What really threatens free expression in India

Faisal Devji explores the deeper lessons from the forced withdrawal of an ‘alternative history’ of the Hindus.

Is it a crime to offend bread?

For one taxi company in the Russian town of Kostroma, the answer turned out to be yes. Sergey Fadeev explains.

From incitement to self-censorship: the media in in the Kenyan elections of 2007 and 2013

Katherine Bruce-Lockhart looks at the media's role in two Kenyan elections and argues that peace and critical media coverage should not be mutually exclusive.


Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk