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 | Our team

Our team

The human microphone at Zuccotti Park, New York
The human microphone at Zuccotti Park, New York (Photo by David Shankbone under a Creative Commons Attribution licence)

The sound of Free Speech Debate

The Free Speech Debate team gathered around a microphone to attempt a “free speech Mexican wave” at our mid-year meeting. Starting with Urdu and finishing with Persian, we recited principles five and six in an overlapping round in our native tongues. Try to guess the other languages as you listen along here.

Executive team

Timothy Garton Ash, director

Timothy Garton Ash is the Director of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom and leads the Free Speech Debate project. He is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Sebastian Huempfer, associate editor

Sebastian Huempfer is studying Economics and Social History at Wolfson College, Oxford. Until last year he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics as an undergraduate. Before that, he worked as a schoolteacher in Ghana.

Sarah Glatte, associate editor

Sarah Glatte is an associate editor of the Dahrendorf Free Speech Debate project. She recently completed her D.Phil in Politics at Oxford. Her research interests include political participation, gender, and free speech.

Max Harris, associate editor

Max Harris is an Examination Fellow at All Souls College.  He has Master’s degrees in Law and Public Policy, and is especially interested in the role of the state and human rights.

Kimb Jones, web design & development

Kimb has been making websites since the 90’s and is the co-founder of the ‘Make Do’ WordPress design & development agency. In a previous life he worked as a Digital Manager in NHS Communications & Marketing and has been working with the WordPress platform since 2005.

Dorian Singh, research manager

Dorian Singh is the Research Manager of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom. She has a DPhil from Oxford University in Social Policy, and her own research focuses on healthcare reforms in former communist countries.


Translators and hosts

Kathrin Bachleitner is a first year DPhil student at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include collective memory and historical legacies in International Relations. Previously, she has been working for the GIZ in the Palestinian Territories and for the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University.

Maroussia Bednarkiewicz has a Master’s degree in translation from the University of Geneva and an MPhil in Islamic Studies and History from the University of Oxford. She currently works as a freelance translator and on her doctoral project looking at the social, political and legal mechanisms through which some newly Muslim populations adopted Islam and yet preserved ancient traditions after the Arab conquest.

Laura Bernal Bermúdez is a lawyer from Colombia. She finished an MSc. Human Rights from the Department of Sociology at the LSE and is currently a second year DPhil candidate in the Department of Sociology of the University of Oxford, working on remedy for corporate human rights violations in Colombia.

Vanya Vaidehi Bhargav is pursuing a PhD in Modern Indian History at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the construction of religious and national identities in India in the early 20th century.

Udit Bhatia is a DPhil candidate in political theory, working on the way education is used to exclude persons from democratic citizenship.

Patrick Quinton-Brown is an MPhil (International Relations) candidate at Oxford University, where he studies as a John A. Moss Scholar. He is Managing Editor of the St Antony’s International Review.

Emre Caliskan is reading for a DPhil in International Relations at St. Antony’s College. He previously worked for BBC Turkish, Turkish public channel TRT and Cumhuriyet Newspaper. He is also co-author of “The New Turkey and its Discontents” which is going to be published by Hurst within a couple of months.

Alissa de Carbonnel is reading for a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government following seven years as a Moscow-based political and macroeconomics correspondent with Reuters, AFP and other leading media.

Andreia Carmo is an MPhil student on Latin American Studies, and recently accepted as a PhD student in King’s College, London. Her area of interest is corruption. She has also done several translation works, such as the translation, to Portuguese, of Vindication of the Rights of Women, by Mary Wollstonecraft.

Neil Dullaghan is an MPhil candidate in Politics (European Politics and Society) at Mansfield College, Oxford. He has previously completed a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. He has worked with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, the United Nations University, and Castleford Media.

Max Gallien is an MPhil candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. His research focusses on the political economy of illegal trade in North Africa.

Nada Helal is an M.Sc Social Anthropology student with an interest in education, migration, and politics. Her region of interest is the Middle East, particularly Egypt, from where she hails.

Jalal Imran is a DPhil candidate in Politics focusing on Social Movements and collective violence, with an interest in the Middle East. He is also developing research interest in the understanding of extremism across different cultural and political settings, and its implications on political and intellectual praxis.

Maryhen Jiménez is currently finishing her MPhil in Latin American Studies at St. Antony’s College. Her research looks at contemporary Venezuelan politics and specifically analyses the role of opposition parties under the conditions of electoral authoritarianism. She holds a BA in Political Science from the Goethe University Frankfurt and has worked for the German development cooperation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch in Washington DC.

Declan Johnston is an MSc student in Russian and Eurasian Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Russian and History in 2013 and has previously worked as a journalist in Russia.

Danish Khan is doing a DPhil in history and contributes to the print and broadcast media in India.

Kimiko Kuga is a DPhil student in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. She currently concentrates on the cases of human trafficking in Japan.

Ana Martins is specialising in Political Theory with the Institute for Political Studies at the Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon. She was a visiting student at St. Antony’s College in Oxford. Her background is in law and journalism.

Mujahid Muhammad is a D. Phil. student at the Department of Organic Chemistry at University of Oxford. His research is directed towards the total synthesis of biologically active naturally occurring compounds.

Kaya Nagayo is a Japanese student doing Russian and East European Studies. Her hobbies are traveling, playing piano and violin, photography, going to concerts and plays, galleries and art museums.

Nikhil Pandhi is a Rhodes Scholar (2014) from India and currently an MPhil Candidate in the School of Archaeology. He has a broad range of interests and writes on a variety of themes including heritage, history, politics, culture, law and all else that catches his attention.

Michael Patefield is reading for an MPhil in Russian and Eastern European Studies at St Antony’s College. His research is particularly focused on Russian economic policy under Vladimir Putin.

Rachel Pollack

Monica Richter is an MPhil candidate in European Politics at St Antony’s College, specialising in European foreign policy and the EU-Russia strategic partnership. She obtained her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Philosophy from the University of St Andrews.

Suzanne Robin is a Msc candidate in Sociology at St Antony’s College, Oxford. I am interested in gender, youth and social movements in Western democracies. Before that, she studied Philosophy and humanities in Sorbonne University, Paris IV.

Dana Polatin-Reuben is undertaking her DPhil at the University of Oxford’s new Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security, with her research project based in the Oxford Internet Institute. Her research interests include the impact of the Snowden revelations on internet architecture and data sovereignty initiatives in developing countries

Maja Sojref is an MPhil student of Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Cross College, Oxford. She is particularly interested in social and cultural history and has been working with civil rights NGOs in Israel/Palestine.


In our first three years

Those who worked on Free Speech Debate in its first year (2011/12) include:

Maryam Omidi was our online editor 2011-2012. Before joining Free Speech Debate, she worked at Financial News, a Dow Jones-owned magazine, where she was an online reporter. Prior to that, she worked in the Maldives both as editor of Minivan (Independent) News and a stringer for Reuters.

Judith Bruhn was the online editor 2012-2015. Previously she was an MPhil student in modern Chinese studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and received an MA in international relations from the University of St Andrews.

Brian Pellot, was the temporary online editor for Free Speech Debate. He studied Journalism at the University of Missouri and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Brian is a multimedia journalist focused on cyberpolitics, mass media and gender issues in the Arab Gulf states.

Jeffrey Howard (Law) was a Doctoral candidate in Political Theory at Nuffield College, Oxford. His dissertation develops a theory of the moral relations between those who affirm the principles of liberal democracy and those who do not. He convenes the Nuffield Political Theory workshop, teaches Political Philosophy to Oxford undergraduates, and works as a researcher at Counterpoint, the London-based think tank and risk analysis firm.

Graham Reynolds (Intellectual Property) was an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law in Halifax, Canada, where he teaches and researches in the areas of intellectual property law, property law, and copyright law. Graham is currently on academic leave from Dalhousie, pursuing doctoral studies in law at St Peter’s College, Oxford. His thesis focuses on the intersection of freedom of expression and copyright.

Naoko Hosokawa was studying Japanese Socio-Linguistics at Hertford College, Oxford. She previously studied International Relations and Political Science.

İrem Kök  was reading for a DPhil in Geography and the Environment at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before moving to UK, she completed Bachelor’s and Post-Graduate degrees in Philosophy, Economics and Political Science in Turkey and the US.

Fatemeh Shams was studying for a Doctorate at Wadham College, Oxford. Her thesis is concerned with the transformation of ideology in post-revolutionary Persian poetry. She is a poet and a blogger, and was a political activist in the Iranian student movement and co-editor of a number of opposition websites after the 2009 presidential election in Iran. She has been living in exile since then.

Hebatalla Taha was a MPhil candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at St Cross College, Oxford. She focuses on political Islam and Islamic feminism in the Arab world. She has previously completed a BA in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East and International Development.

Funda Üstek was studying for DPhil in Sociology at St Cross College, Oxford. Previously, she completed a MSc in Comparative Social Policy at Oxford and a double BA (Hons) in Political Science and International Relations and Philosophy at Boğaziçi University, Turkey.

Maximilien von Berg was reading for an MPhil in Politics (Comparative Government) at St Cross College, Oxford. Max holds a BA in International Relations (first class) and has worked in the Middle East. His thesis aims to study the evolution of public debt in OECD countries. Max is a former triathlon world champion and rows for Wolfson College’s First VIII boat.

Felipe Botelho Correa was studying for a DPhil in Modern Languages, focusing on Brazilian Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford. In 2009 he published the book, Imaginário do medo: imprensa e violência urbana (in Portuguese), using the results of his Master’s thesis on media and urban violence in Brazil.

Melis Evcimik was a first year Dphil student at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. She works on contemporary Middle East foreign policy and is particularly interested in Turkey’s involvement in the Middle East. She holds her BA and MA degrees from Princeton University, Department of Politics and Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Maria Luiza Gatto was a doctoral student in Politics and a member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. She studies political institutions and women’s political representation in Latin America. She holds a M.Sc. in Politics Research (2012) from Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, and a B.A. with honours (2011) from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Kim Wilkinson was associate editor of FSD and studying at Wolfson College, Oxford where she is completing the MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

Heba Al-Adawy studied Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Trinity College, Oxford. She previous specialised in European Intellectual History, in particular, the question of religion and sovereignty within western political thought.

Jacob Amis studied Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His research focuses on the political strategies of non-violent Islamist movements. From 2009 to 2010, Jacob was research fellow in foreign policy and security at Policy Exchange. He holds a prize-winning BA in ancient and modern history from Oxford University, and has studied Arabic in Egypt, Jordan, Oman and Syria.

Sanchita Bakshi studied Development Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Ruth Costas studied Latin American Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She did her undergraduate studies in International Relations at PUC and in Journalism at USP in Brazil. Before coming to Oxford she worked for seven years as a journalist in Brazil.

Katie Engelhart studied Modern History at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. In a former life, she was a journalist in Toronto.

Katherine Bruce-Lockhart was doing the MSc in African Studies at St.Antony’s College. She has worked as a journalist in Canada and Southern Africa, and has done research and programming with non-governmental organizations working on free speech issues in Namibia, Nepal and Canada.

Bassam Gergi was pursuing an M.Phil at Comparative Government at St. Antony’s College. He is a Dahrendorf scholar who is interested in the public breakdown in contemporary black politics and why black America is silent about the challenges it faces.

Rory McCarthy is researching a DPhil in Oriental Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He was previously Middle East correspondent for the Guardian.

Amy Qin studied Politics (Comparative Government) at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Her research focuses on state-society relations in China, specifically the impact of the internet on Chinese politics.

Maximilian Ruhenstroth-Bauer studied European Politics and Society at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and obtained his MPhil in July 2012.

Casey Selwyn studied International Relations, with a focus on public-private health partnerships, at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Casey received her Bachelor’s degree in History from New York University, and worked as a research assistant before coming to Oxford.

Louise Fang is a visiting research scholar at the Faculty of English, Oxford. She is currently staying at the Maison Française and completing a Master’s degree in English Literature.

Clementine de Montjoye is doing an MSt in Modern Languages at Worcester College, Oxford. Before coming to Oxford she was at King’s College London doing a BA in Comparative Literature. She now focuses her studies on Hispanic and Anglophone postcolonial literature.

Marina Perez de Arcos is studying an MPhil in International Relations at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Having done her undergraduate thesis and fieldwork on social policies in Colombia, she is a historian, and has worked in local government in France as well as in the national Spanish Government.

Sundas Ali (Pakistan) is a Doctoral student in Sociology at Nuffield College, Oxford. Her research interests cover national identity and sense of belonging. Her previous training was in International Relations (MSc) and Economics and Econometrics (BSc) from the University of Bristol.

Annabelle Chapman is studying Russian and East European Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She is interested in the European Union’s policy towards its eastern neighbors.

Andrew Clark studied Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford.  His focus is on Arab politics and Islamist movements, specifically in Egypt, but he is also interested in Middle Eastern History and Economics.

Rutger Kaput is a DPhil candidate in Political Theory at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His dissertation focuses on how changing experiences of social time affect politics.

Matthias Battis is a DPhil Candidate in History at Wolfson College, Oxford. He previously studied at the European University Viadrina for a BA in Cultural Sciences, and graduated in 2011 from an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies from Oxford.

Dr Olga Shvarova is an Associate Consultant at Isis Innovation, Oxford University Science aside, Olga is a writer, a translator and a photographer.

Nadira Khudayberdieva (Russia) is studying for an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She is particularly interested in ethnic conflict prevention and human rights issues, and hopes to build a career in these areas.

Josh Black was studying at St Antony’s College, Oxford where he is reading for an MSc in Russian and Eastern European Studies. Fastidious with semi-colons, in his spare time he blogs and dreams of travelling the world.

Manav Bhushan was a second year DPhil student at St Cross College, Oxford. He also works on mathematical modelling for a cancer research project.

Dominic James Burbidge (religion) is a Doctoral candidate in Politics at Oriel College, Oxford. His dissertation looks at interpersonal trust in Kenya and Tanzania and argues social capital to be the Ancient concept of virtue. Dominic was one of the first Dahrendorf Scholars of St Antony’s College in 2009 and is currently under the Herbert and Ilse Frankel Memorial Studentship in Political Economy at Oriel College. Dominic learnt Swahili in Kenya and Tanzania and is a consultant for Strathmore Governance Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. He works with orphans of AIDS in western Kenya through the NGO Teach a Child Africa and also teaches undergraduates of Oxford’s PPE course.

Avani Bansal is Roy Goode Scholar, pursuing MPhil in Law at Linacre College, Oxford. Her subject areas of interest include Constitutional Law, Environmental Law and Human Rights.

Shubhangi Bhadada is studying law at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. She is interested in public international law, commercial law and human rights.

Vanya Vaidehi Bhargav is studying Modern South Asian Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. She previously read a BA in History and Politics at Oxford. She is interested in questions of Hindu nationalism, religious minorities and caste in India.

Michèle Finck is a DPhil candidate in law. She is particularly interested in European, Comparative and Public Law. She holds an LL.M. from the EUI as well as a Dual Degree in French and English Law from King’s College London and the Sorbonne.

Ayako Komine is a DPhil student in Politics at New College, Oxford. She is conducting research on immigration and nationhood in Japan. She worked as a management consultant before arriving at Oxford.

Aisha Saad is reading for a DPhil in Political Geography at Christ Church, Oxford. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has conducted research on environmental justice and development equity in the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America.

Sakumi Shimizu is a MSc student in Modern Japanese Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. She holds a BA in International Liberal Arts and has worked for a Japanese company doing global marketing before coming to Oxford.

Marcos Todeschini is doing a MSc in Latin American Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has been working as a business reporter for eight years for the Brazilian and Spanish media.

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Published on: February 7, 2012 | 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.