Free Speech Debate

Thirteen languages. Ten principles. One conversation.

Log in | Register | Mailing list

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

Timothy Garton Ash (centre) and some members of the Free Speech Debate team.

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 Isaiah Berlin professorial fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He is the author of nine books of “history of the present”, including most recently Facts Are Subversive, and writes a weekly column in the Guardian which is widely syndicated in Europe, Asia and the Americas. He is currently working on a book about global free speech, which will draw on the work of this project.

Judith Bruhn, associate editor

Judith Bruhn is the online editor of 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.

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.

Simon Dickson, web developer

Simon Dickson has been working in “new media” for 17 years. Having worked for several UK government departments, plus Sky News and Microsoft, he set up his own consultancy in 2007. He is known as one of the UK’s leading WordPress specialists, and his blog is notorious in government IT circles.

Translators and hosts

Sarah Glatte is a doctoral candidate in politics at Wadham College, Oxford. Her research explores the relationship between social policy, gender culture and gender inequality in unified Germany. She holds a Master’s in Women’s Studies from Oxford and a BSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Bath.


In our first two years

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

Maryam Omidi was our online editor. 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.

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.

Print Save
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.