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.


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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

FSD CS Twitter

14 year-old’s Twitter prank leads to arrest in the Netherlands

A prank by a 14 year-old Dutch girl on Twitter prompted both her arrest – and broader questions about free speech, as Max Harris discusses.

FSD CS Twitter

14 year-old’s Twitter prank leads to arrest in the Netherlands

A prank by a 14 year-old Dutch girl on Twitter prompted both her arrest – and broader questions about free speech, as Max Harris discusses.

Free speech and privacy

Imagine that everything you express to the person closest to you, in your most intimate moments, is immediately posted online for all the world to see. This would not just be a nightmare of embarrassment; it would also mean that you would express yourself less freely. As anyone who has lived in a police state […]

Free speech and privacy

Imagine that everything you express to the person closest to you, in your most intimate moments, is immediately posted online for all the world to see. This would not just be a nightmare of embarrassment; it would also mean that you would express yourself less freely. As anyone who has lived in a police state […]

Highlights

14 year-old’s Twitter prank leads to arrest in the Netherlands

A prank by a 14 year-old Dutch girl on Twitter prompted both her arrest – and broader questions about free speech, as Max Harris discusses.

EU versus intellectual freedom?

In a bid to synchronise hate crimes, the EU is seeking unity amongst members states against the denial of historical injustices. Is this the EU versus member states’ appreciation of intellectual freedom? Luigi Cajani explains.

Egypt: the show is over

Bassem Youssef and the Egyptian struggle for freedom of speech.

How an attempt at ‘libel tourism’ rebounded on a Tanzanian tycoon

A British citizen blogged about a Tanzanian media magnate involved in throwing her and her husband off their Tanzanian farm. He sued for libel in a British court. Dominic Burbidge explains.

Canada champions tolerance abroad. But what about chez nous in Quebec?

Charles Taylor asks what motivates practices of exclusion on the basis of religious identity and expression. Dominic Burbidge reports.

National security and privacy: striking the balance

Anthony Lester and Zoe McCallum discuss the need to balance national security and privacy in the age of internet surveillance.

Eatock v Bolt: a controversial Australian hate speech case

Max Harris explains why journalist Andrew Bolt was found in breach of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act for articles about “fair-skinned Aboriginal people”.

The world through the eyes of Russian state television

Robert Coalson looks at how Russian television depicts everything from the crisis in Ukraine to the war in Syria.

The long struggle to bury speech crimes in the English-speaking world

Anthony Lester and Zoe McCallum look at how the ghost of the English Court of the Star Chamber has been used to suppress free speech.

Hong Kong: two systems, one country?

Samson Yuen and Kitty Ho argue that the stabbing of a former Hong Kong news editor is a symptom of a broader squeeze on the city’s freedoms.

In Ecuador, cartoonist gets the last laugh

Kim Wilkinson looks at an unusual order to ‘correct’ a cartoon, and the cartoonist’s clever reply.

Why Yale UP did not publish the Danish cartoons

John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, explains and defends his decision not to include illustrations in Jytte Klausen’s book.


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