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.


Misconceived? Impossible?

Challenge or comment on the project so far. Help us make it better. Suggest alternative approaches.


  • Travellers Attend The Annual Appleby Horse Fair

    Free speech in an unfair world

    Free Speech Debate's 10 draft principles benefit those in positions of privilege and power, writes Sebastian Huempfer.

    June 8, 2012 | Comments: 6
  • Indias LGBT Community Celebrates 4th Queer Pride March

    Fighting for free speech in an unjust world

    A society in which free speech marginalises, rather than empowers, vulnerable citizens is a society in which our moral vision of universal free speech has not actually been achieved, writes Jeff Howard.

    June 8, 2012 | Comments: 4
  • 4351196974_e0c2b806b3_z

    The future of Free Speech Debate

    Help us decide the future of this website here.

    February 22, 2012 | Comments: 32

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.