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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Copyright & attribution

We believe that making our content freely available for non-commercial purposes is an integral part of promoting a global debate on free expression. We think the best way to do this online is a Creative Commons licence, developed as a way of maximising the free expression possibilities of the internet. It allows all users contributing content to set the terms for how others can republish or translate their content, without having to seek prior permission every time.

All content contributed by registered users or friends of the website is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence: You should read the licence on the Creative Commons website, but this broadly means that you are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the content and to make derivative works of it, provided you give credit to the original author of the content, do not use the content for commercial purposes and distribute any derivative work under the same Creative Commons licence.

Where you make use of any content online, we ask that you include a link to the original item. For example: “Originally published on Free Speech Debate (, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike licence: ”

Please note that some of our images are from copyright-protected sources (for example, Getty Images). Before copying, distributing or displaying those images you may need to seek a licence from the copyright holder. Also note  that the personal commentaries by Timothy Garton Ash and quotations from other contributions to the website may subsequently be used in a commercial publication.

This page provides only a summary of the Copyright and attribution issues discussed on it. Please see our Terms of use for full details in relation to licences provided to and by the University.

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Published on: December 7, 2011 | No Comments

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.