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

2015-02-15T140315Z_726180222_GM1EB2F1ORJ01_RTRMADP_3_DENMARK-SHOOTING_0

Ian McEwan on free speech and religion

The celebrated English novelist on Islam's 'totalitarian moment' and why freedom of expression is not religion’s enemy but its protector.

Video game

RapeLay: a virtual rape game

A Japanese video game that involved raping women was banned three years after its creation following an international outcry by women's groups, writes Judith Bruhn.

Freedom to offend? thumbnail

Freedom to offend?

At the London School of Economics Students's Union Freshers' Fair members of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Student Society were asked to cover up their T-shirts displaying a Jesus and Mo cartoon. This panel discussion discusses the freedom to offend and how to balance freedom of expression and civility.

armenian

France’s Armenian genocide law

In January 2012, the French Senate approved a law criminalising the denial of any genocide recognised by the state, writes Clementine de Montjoye.

Highlights

What did the Buddha mean by ‘right speech’?

Matthew Walton explores the deeper Buddhist context of right speech – and soul-searching on Buddhist internet message boards.

Fear, farce and tragedy: how Turkey reacted to the Charlie Hebdo murders

Kerem Oktem describes the narrowing room for satire and free expression in Islamist-ruled Turkey.

Right speech

Leslie Green argues that Buddhist ideas about avoiding divisive, abusive and false speech can help us live together well in free societies

Does Charlie Hebdo drift into racist caricatures?

The first edition of the magazine since the attack in which 12 people were killed featured a cartoon of Muhammad on its cover. Myriam Francois-Cerrah objects.

Charlie Hebdo is still alive – and kicking

Timothy Garton Ash on the first issue since the assassinations, and its Muhammad cartoon cover

Against the assassin’s veto

Timothy Garton Ash suggests a European media week of solidarity, including republication of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Living in outrageous times

Peter Bradley argues that we should tolerate offence but be less offensive

Google evaluates more than 670,000 URLs following ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling

by Timothy Garton Ash

How a Weibo post gets censored

Jason Q Ng traces the path of a censored Weibo post and tracks keywords that trigger automatic review.

Free to fantasise? Pornography and its harms.

Jo Fidgen asks what the hard evidence is for negative effects of pornography on sexual behaviour.

How Russia’s media pluralism was eroded under Vladimir Putin

Maryam Omidi describes a mapping of the Russian media landscape in 2014.

How the British press distorted reporting of… the British press

Martin Moore, of the Media Standards Trust, summarises an analysis of British press coverage of proposed new press regulation.


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