Free expression should not be considered as ‘just another’ human right. Any truly participatory political system cannot exist without it nor any legal system linked to such politics, argues Eric Heinze.
There are two exceptional cases in which memory laws protect free speech, argue Grażyna Baranowska and Anna Wójcik.
Eric Heinze argues that the radicals and liberal grounds for free speech are not mutually exclusive.
Free Speech Debate organised a panel discussion on the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and its future. In this video and its highlights, panelists debate the range of issues surrounding the campaign and its impact on free speech. Panelists include Dr David Johnson, Professor David Priestland, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Monica Richter.
Jonathan Leader Maynard examines the difficulties in assessing and managing the role of speech in violence.
Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh argues that Oxford has shown itself to have no regard for black life in its decision not to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes.
Monica Richter argues that the inward looking Rhodes Must Fall campaign detracts from greater issues of social justice.
In the shadow of the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, Arthur Asseraf examines the history of French colonial double standards in Algeria.
John Lloyd explores the history and weakness of Western media coverage, and suggests one way it could be improved.
Hartosh Bal explains the role of the new Freedom Trust in the context of India’s media environment, and how they hope to defend freedom of expression.
25 years after the fatwa and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Salman Rushdie discusses with Timothy Garton Ash whether there is now more or less freedom of expression in Europe, worrying developments in India and his critical view of Edward Snowden.
Alain Bouldoires talks to Timothy Garton Ash about the survival of blasphemy laws in Europe, and calls for a ‘right to blaspheme’.
In a bid to synchronise hate crimes, the EU is seeking unity amongst members states against the denial of historical injustices. Is this the EU versus member states’ appreciation of intellectual freedom? Luigi Cajani explains.
Robert Coalson looks at how Russian television depicts everything from the crisis in Ukraine to the war in Syria.
Anthony Lester and Zoe McCallum look at how the ghost of the English Court of the Star Chamber has been used to suppress free speech.
Former US Diplomat Ann Wright speaks to Kim Wilkinson on the need for whistleblowers and institutions like WikiLeaks, but stresses that in some instances secrecy is necessary, such as in peace-making negotiations.
Pere Vilanova reflects on his personal experience of learning his ‘native’ tongue – as a third language.
Marc-Antoine Dilhac recounts how he confronted anti-semitic prejudice in a French classroom, and argues that more good comes from an open debate about hate speech than from banning it.
Nazi past? Stasi past? Sebastian Huempfer challenges the conventional explanations for Germany’s strong reaction to Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA snooping.
At the 2013 Irrawaddy Literary Festival, Burmese writers including Pascal Khoo Thwe and blogpoet Pandora talk about George Orwell in the country where he was once an imperial policeman.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington must be the beginning of the discussion of race, not the end. Bassam Gergi discusses why the depoliticisation of race in the US is problematic and only open debate can lead to progress.
We regularly highlight comments that have made an impression on us. Antoon de Baets left an insightful response to Josie Appleton’s discussion of memory laws in France.
The forthcoming trial of Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang poses vital questions about the connections between words and violence, argues Katherine Bruce-Lockhart.
At the 2013 Jaipur Festival, Ian Buruma, Reza Aslan, Ahdaf Souief and Timothy Garton Ash, in conversation with Shoma Chaudhury, talk about the relationship between religion and politics and how to deal with religious threats to free speech.
Josie Appleton talks to Pierre Nora and Olivier Salvatori of the Liberté pour l’Histoire initiative in France.
The relationship between writers and the state is complex, multifaceted and changing. At the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 a panel of experts explores some of the issues faced by writers around the world.
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi stresses the importance of free speech but emphasises the Buddhist idea of “right speech”.
An Indian and a Pakistani student at Oxford reflect on how their countries covered the same story in their own ways. By Zahra Shah and Debanshu Mukherjee.
In 2008 two convicted murderers asked for their names to be removed from Wikipedia and other online media outlets, in accordance with German law. Does the individual’s right to be forgotten take priority over the public’s right to know?
Historian Khaled Fahmy describes how historic Egyptian books are more easily found in Western than in Egyptian libraries – and how a scholarly history of the Middle East was recently banned from entering Egypt.
Claus Leggewie and Horst Meier explain why memory laws are the wrong way for Europeans to remember and debate their difficult pasts.
The German comedian Serdar Somuncu recites extracts from Mein Kampf to highlight the absurdity of Hitler’s propaganda, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
A history textbook underplaying Japanese imperialism caused controversy domestically and internationally, write Ayako Komine and Naoko Hosokawa.
In January 2012, the French Senate approved a law criminalising the denial of any genocide recognised by the state, writes Clementine de Montjoye.
A South Korean photographer explains his ordeal in holding an exhibition in Japan that documents ageing ‘Comfort Women’, writes Lee Yoo Eun.
In 2011, three Indian scholars called on OUP India to re-publish an essay which had been denounced by Hindu extremists. Less than two weeks later, the publisher reversed its earlier decision not to re-publish.
History is a sensitive issue in China with some of it desperately remembered and some, deliberately forgotten, writes Judith Bruhn.
Historian Halil Berktay discusses the denial by the Turkish state that the mass murders of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915 constituted a genocide.
In the first past of this debate, research fellow Kerem Öktem argues that an individual’s understanding of free speech is shaped by their personal history and geography.
From communism to Kurdish separatism, the Turkish state has used a series of pretexts to deny freedom of expression to its citizens, says journalist Hasan Cemal.
In 2002, historian Xu Zerong was sentenced to 13 years in jail for leaking state secrets. The classification of the leaked materials as “top secret” came only after he had been sentenced, writes Timothy Garton Ash.
Susan Benesch, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, discusses hate speech and dangerous speech with Timothy Garton Ash
A trio of human rights experts elaborate on the definition of dangerous speech and consider how hate speech is protected both in Europe and under the first amendment in the US.
China’s attempt to both capitalise on and control the internet is “one of the greatest experiments” in the country’s history, says Orville Schell of the Asia Society.
YouTube was banned for three years in Turkey on the grounds that certain videos were insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the modern republic’s founder, or to “Turkishness”, write Funda Ustek and Irem Kok.
The co-chair of the German Green Party tells Free Speech Debate that fascist ideologies cannot be banned and must be confronted in a democratic way.
A documentary depicting the Turkish Republic’s founder, Kemal Atatürk, as a “drunken debaucher” was seen as an attack on “Turkishness”, write Irem Kok and Funda Ustek.
Professor Ayşe Kadıoğlu of Sabancı University speaks of her experience growing up in Turkey where taboos, many imposed by law, have trapped citizens “in a state of immaturity”.
Confucianism’s defence of political speech does not necessarily apply to other forms of expression, says Bell.
Speaking at the Brandenburg Gate on the 22nd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Timothy Garton Ash, director of Free Speech Debate, discusses the new barriers to information and communication.
US blogger Joe Gordon was sentenced to two and a half years in a Thai prison for publishing links on his blog to an unauthorised biography of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. A case study by Maryam Omidi.