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.

Home | About Us | In the media

In the media

In English

Wade, Francis, “What now for Myanmar’s Ministry of Truth?“, Al Jazeera, 6 February 2013

Associated Press, ” Authors tackle new vocabulary of freedom as Myanmar turns from censoring to regulating speech“, The Washington Post, 5 February 2013

Kinetz, Erika, “Freedom brings new challenges for Myanmar writers“, Huffington Post, 5 February 2013

Pilling, David, “Myanmar writes new page in history“, Financial Times, 3 February 2013

Warburton, Nigel, “Free Speech Bites with Timothy Garton Ash“, Index on Censorship, 1 February 2013

Rojanaphruk, Pravit, “Lese majeste ‘hurts Thai image“, The Nation, 31 January 2013

Singh, Mahim Pratap, “Debate on Article 19(2) needed, says journalist“, The Hindu, 26 January 2013

Jenkins, Cordelia, “Jaipur Literature Festival: Debating free speech“, Livemint, 25 January 2013

IANS, “Is freedom of expression under threat in the digital age?“, The Times of India, 16 January 2013

PTI, “Lack of understanding of IT laws posing challenge“,, 15 January 2013

Braun, Stewart, “Europe’s fight over free speech flares up again“, USA Today, 5 October 2012

Bechler, Rosemary, “Free speech: working our way towards the liberal minimum“, openDemocracy, 9 August 2012

Williams, Helena, “Is it time for a global conversation on free speech?“, Frontline, 15 May 2012

YangRui, “Ideal forms of government“, CCTV Dialogue, 10 May 2012

Vargese, Robin, “The harm of hate speech“, 3quarksdaily, 29 April 2012

Whelan, Phil, “Morning brew“, RTHK, 20 April, 2012

Yezdani, İpek, “Historian warns of ‘neo-Ottomanism‘”, Hurriyet Daily News, 10 April 2012

Poyraz Doğan, Yonca, “Truth commissions better than courts to deal with difficult past“, Today’s Zaman, 8 April 2012

Ahmedani, Usman, “Islamophobia as a political ploy“, The Guardian, 29 March 2012

Rabbi Boteach, Shmuley, “An Ungrateful Karzai Calls American Troops ‘Demons’“, Huffington Post, 19 March 2012

Saad, Mohammad , “Timothy Garton Ash, Egypt 2012, not Europe 1989“, Al-Ahram Online (Arabic), 18 March 2012

Garton Ash, Timothy, “One rule for Jesus, another for Muhammad?”, The Guardian, 14 March 2012

Brown, Andrew, “Unearned respect is worthless“, The Guardian, 13 March 2012

Free speech starts here“, Oxford Today, Hilary 2012

Morris, Clara, “BBC’s Mark Thompson admits greater sensitivity to non-Christian faiths“, Christian Today, 28 February 2012

Mark Thompson: BBC director general admits Christianity receives tougher treatment“, The Telegraph, 27 February 2012

Cohen, Nick, “Should Christians kill Mark Thompson?“, Spectator, 27 February 2012

Revoir, Paul, “Christianity gets less sensitive treatment than other religions admits BBC chief“, Daily Mail, 27 February 2012

Cheong, Ian, “Wikipedia founder in free speech debate“, The Oxford Student, 26 January 2012

Garton Ash, Timothy, “In France, genocide has become a political brickbat“, The Guardian, 18 January 2012


منى أبوالنصر، مناظرة (إلكترونية) عن الحرية والإنترنت، الشروق، ٥ مارس ٢٠١٢

محمد فرج، أستاذ تاريخ بريطاني يسأل:أيهما أخطر علي حرية التعبير.. العسكر أم الإسلاميون؟، أخبار الأدب، ٣ مارس ٢٠١٢

محمد سعد، تيموثي جارتون آش: لا يمكن للغرب أن يفرض قيمه علي العالم، الأخبار، ٢٧ فبراير ٢٠١٢


Menichini, Rafaella, “Arriva Free Speech Debate Liberi di parlare, tra mondi diversi“, La Repubblica, 7 March 2012


Kuisz , Jarosław, “Szkodliwość ochrony uczuć religijnych“, Kultura Liberalna, 10 July 2012

Stasiński, Maciej,Szeroko rzucamy wolną sieć, Gazeta Wyborcza, 17 May 2012

Zakowskiego, Rozmowy, Niebezpieczna mowa, Polityka, 16 May 2012

Piotrowska, Dorota, “Free Speech Debate“, Res Publica, 2 May 2012

Żyła, Rozmawiał Marcin, “Trzecią drogą“, Tygodnik Powszechny, 27 March 2012


Eski, Beril, “Türkiye değişim dinamizmini kaybetti“, Agos, 13 April 2012

Tekerek, Tuğba, “Post-Western çağa girdik“, Taraf, 10 April 2012


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Published on: March 15, 2012 | No Comments

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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.