Timothy Garton Ash, in a lecture at Boğaziçi University, entitled Free Speech Under Attack, explains why the media is essential for a functioning deliberative democracy. He argues that populism and the projection of dominant voices through the media is a significant threat to free speech in Turkey and around the globe.
Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in residence at Oxford University, considers the active encyclopedia’s first 15 years.
Kerem Öktem describes the dramatic deterioration of Turkey’s media landscape after the attempted coup of July 2016.
Kimiko Kuga examines the institution of the kisha club and their role in controlling information in Japan.
Peter Pomerantsev speaks to Declan Johnston about free speech in Russia and the role of Russian television.
Demotix founder Turi Munthe discusses the role of citizen journalism and Demotix in today’s media environment.
Rebecca Wong describes the combined pressures of Chinese political power and the interests of media proprietors.
Martin Moore, of the Media Standards Trust, summarises an analysis of British press coverage of proposed new press regulation.
Katie Engelhart attends the public hearing of Google’s Advisory Council, set up in response to a European Court of Justice judgement.
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.
Samson Yuen and Kitty Ho argue that the stabbing of a former Hong Kong news editor is a symptom of a broader squeeze on the city’s freedoms.
Shi Yige examines different approaches to censorship in China, and argues that while internet controls might avail the leadership in the short term, they are unsustainable.
Our draft principles, and Timothy Garton Ash’s personal introduction, have been translated into Catalan.
Katherine Bruce-Lockhart looks at the media’s role in two Kenyan elections and argues that peace and critical media coverage should not be mutually exclusive.
Jonathan Heawood on ten reasons why independent self-regulation is good for free speech – and how his new initiative, IMPRESS, proposes to go about it.
Leslie Green, a distinguished legal philosopher who has written extensively about issues of obscenity and pornography, challenges our case study on online porn filters.
Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, argues that the British press has denied the British public a proper debate on press regulation.
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.
Thomas Fingar, 2013 winner of the Sam Adams Awards for Integrity in Intelligence, argues that leaking classified information from within the intelligence services is unnecessary and dangerous.
Political theorist Rob Reich discusses what adaptations we need as freedom of speech and association move increasingly from the offline to the online world. Can the old principles still apply in new circumstances?
Famous Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner says he thinks Russia really has no concept of free speech. Oh, but there’s one place where you do have complete freedom of expression…
Jeff Howard explores the legal basis on which the US is collecting vast amounts of data on foreign and US citizens, despite the Fourth Amendment.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has been an outspoken defender of whistleblowers and alternative media sources.
Edward Snowden was not the first NSA official to sound the alarm. Thomas Drake, winner of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, makes his case to Free Speech Debate.
India has its own fierce debate about media regulation. Arghya Sengupta discusses how the shadow of the 1970s “Emergency” hangs over proposed steps from failed self-regulation to statutory regulation.
Our user imos.org.uk argues with one of our draft principles challenging the idea that privacy is a condition for free speech.
The question of how best to respond to the unauthorised dissemination of copyright-protected expression over the internet has long troubled copyright owners. But the proposed solution of a Copyright Alert could potentially erode free speech, writes Graham Reynolds.
Josie Appleton talks to Pierre Nora and Olivier Salvatori of the Liberté pour l’Histoire initiative in France.
Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, argues that Britain needs both a free press and reform of its failed regulatory system. Since this will require both time and openness, a new independent press regulator should therefore be given a year’s trial run.
Data protection laws now touch everyone’s lives and those living within the EU are about to have their regulations updated, writes David Erdos. These proposed laws are overly restrictive: the time has come to take a stand for those working in research.
For all its talk of press freedom, the Burmese government has produced a surprise new bill containing oppressive provisions and undermining the press council it created. Ellen Wiles reports.
Academic ‘open access’ journals make articles freely available and the dissemination of knowledge and citation easier. However, the pace of change is slow, writes Cristobal Cobo.
In 2006 the Kenyan police violently raided the offices and printing press of the Standard Group media organisation. What was the government afraid of seeing reported? Dominic Burbidge explores a revealing case.
At the invitation of Index of Censorship and the Editors Guild of India, Timothy Garton Ash joins Kirsty Hughes at a panel discussion in Delhi with Shri Ajit Balakrishnan, Shri Sunil Abraham and Ramajit Singh Chima.
Peter Bradley describes a British initiative promoting free expression, public debate and active citizenship.
2013 began dramatically in China with a standoff between journalists and state propaganda authorities over a drastically rewritten New Year editorial. Timothy Garton Ash introduces English translations of the original and finally published versions.
The world of academic publishing stands at a crossroads with public institutions demanding open access to publicly funded research. Dominic Burbidge explores the difficulties that stand in the way.
In the landmark case of New York Times v Sullivan, in 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that criticism of public officials must be protected, even if some of the claims were inaccurate. Jeff Howard explains.
The Indian media is in danger of losing its moral compass to the pressures of the new capitalism. It may be a time for a boycott in order to stop the rot, argues Manav Bhushan.
The historian and writer explains the reasoning behind author Salman Rushdie’s no-show at the 2012 Jaipur Literary Festival.
In a panel John Lloyd, T.R. Andhyarujina, Harish Salve and Daya Thussu discussed whether self-regulation can continue to remain a viable way forward for the Indian media.
Indian journalist and writer Tarun Tejpal speaks about development and corruption in India, and the role of investigative journalism.
The award-winning Indian novelist and activist speaks to Manav Bhushan about the limits to free speech in India, including government censorship through the media and “goon squads”.
Aryeh Neier, human rights lawyer and president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations speaks about the future of free speech.
At the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), authoritarian governments staked worrying claims. But the US-dominated model of non-governmental internet governance brings its own problems, writes Alison Powell. Beware of the Clinton Paradox.
Despite Brazil’s democratic accomplishments, laws used to regulate websites date from the 1960s, giving arbitrary power to the state. A proposed ‘Marco Civil da Internet’ has the capacity to change this, writes Marcos Todeschini.
Literacy is the fundamental building block for any society of free speech, evidenced not just in grand statistics but in the lives of those most in need. Dominic Burbidge reports.
Former British MI5 agent Annie Machon revealed, together with David Shayler, alleged criminal behaviour within the agency. In an interview with Sebastian Huempfer she speaks about the need for official channels through which whistleblowers can voice their concerns.
We regularly highlight comments that have made an impression on us. Today’s comment comes from our user Howard Hill who is challenging the validity of the idea of the project.
Filippino journalist Marites Vitug speaks about her experience being charged with libel for her investigative journalism, freedom of the press in the Philippines and the new cybercrime law.
Dominic Burbidge discusses how Ushahidi’s transformative crowdsourcing techniques have alleviated crises in Kenya and beyond.
Type ‘Bettina Wulff’, the name of a former German president’s wife, into Google and the autocomplete function will add ‘escort’. Is this algorithmic addition a form of defamation? Sebastian Huempfer explores the case.
One of the United Arab Emirate’s most prominent human rights activists, Ahmed Mansoor was imprisoned in 2011 for criticising the country’s leadership. Here he discusses the death threats, defamation campaigns and physical attacks he continues to face for speaking his mind.
Josie Appleton explains how a 2005 law that permits local councils to restrict the distribution of leaflets in public spaces is hurting free speech and community life in Britain.
Should Yale University refuse to operate in Singapore where human rights and free expression face significant restrictions? Katie Engelhart weighs the arguments for and against.
In 2002 Wang Xiaoning was sent to prison for 10 years after Yahoo passed on personal information Chinese authorities used to identify him. Judith Bruhn explores a case of conflicting laws and moral expectations.
If a decade of stalled attempts to enact Zambia’s Freedom of Information bill seems comical, there is underlying tragedy in how politicians have fallen short of their free speech rhetoric, writes Dominic Burbidge.
Social media and satellite television played a crucial role in the Arab uprisings, but Daoud Kuttab argues community radio must be embraced to effect positive change in the region.
The WCITLeaks.org co-founder discusses how anonymous uploads to his website are shedding light on the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications.
In May 2012, India’s parliament withdrew a series of school textbooks that contained a political cartoon some MPs considered denigrating. Antoon De Baets discusses whether reputation, rights and public morals should ever trump educational free speech.
Dominic Burbidge explores the corrupt links between political elites and mainstream media that suffocate genuine democratic debate in Africa.
Author Evgeny Morozov highlights the dangers that sometimes emerge when governments and corporations harness the internet to serve their own objectives.
Former investigative journalist Haiyan Wang describes the ways in which Chinese reporters push the boundaries of press freedom. Interview by Judith Bruhn.
A history textbook underplaying Japanese imperialism caused controversy domestically and internationally, write Ayako Komine and Naoko Hosokawa.
In 2010, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind almost closed its library because of funding issues. Yet some argue that those who can’t read Braille are akin to illiterates, writes Katie Engelhart.
Open access publishing models are having a significant impact on the dissemination on scientific information but their impact on the developing world is uncertain, writes Jorge L Contreras.
While China’s human flesh search engines can help reveal government corruption they can also be used to humiliate ordinary citizens, writes Judith Bruhn.
In January 2012, the French Senate approved a law criminalising the denial of any genocide recognised by the state, writes Clementine de Montjoye.
Malachy Browne, news editor at Storyful, explains how the social media news agency validates news content sourced from the real-time web.
A grassroots organisation set up by journalists attempts to create positive change in Turkish media, writes Yonca Poyraz Doğan, a correspondent at Today’s Zaman.
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.
To mark the launch of the St Antony’s International Review, a panel of experts discuss Ushahidi technology, academic journals in Latin America and the geographies of the world’s knowledge.
A panel of experts joins FSD Director Timothy Garton Ash at London’s Frontline Club to discuss some of the world’s most pressing free speech issues.
Ukrainian cultural journals have become the target of “raiders” – shady groups working on behalf of powerful interests who use bogus property claims to close down businesses, says Mykola Riabchuk.
A senior advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is only a matter of time before a climate scientist is killed, writes Maryam Omidi.
The public nature of the Leveson Inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal has been exemplary, writes Timothy Garton Ash.
Medical science frequently favours commercial interests over free speech, writes Deborah Cohen of the BMJ.
The new defamation bill fails to address some of the most important issues, including restrictions on the ability of corporations to sue for libel, writes Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN.
The former director of BBC Global News explains what Britain’s historic public service broadcaster means by ‘impartiality’ – and why it has not always achieved it.
EU member states should reform the data protection framework to address the realities of life in the Web 2.0 age, writes David Erdos
History is a sensitive issue in China with some of it desperately remembered and some, deliberately forgotten, writes Judith Bruhn.
Environmental information is tightly controlled in China despite the existence of access to information regulations, writes Sam Geall.
Killer Anders Behring Breivik’s testimony should be broadcast live to deter extremism, argues Anne Ardem, executive editor at Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.
Egypt made more edits to Wikipedia than any other African country between 2010 and 2011, according to new research.
The secretive approach adopted by parties in negotiating the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement constrained the ability of the public to challenge limits on free expression, writes Graham Reynolds.
Leading free speech expert Eric Barendt defends a British parliamentary report on privacy against criticisms by campaigning journalist John Kampfner.
In 2011, a group of young Egyptians organised public film screenings to expose military violence against civilians, writes Hebatalla Taha.
Germany’s draft ancillary copyright bill would force news aggregators such as Google News to pay German publishing houses when linking to news items produced by their newspapers, writes Maximilian Ruhenstroth-Bauer.
How the Obama administration continues use of Bush-era powers to suppress legitimate debate about the needs of US national security. By Jeff Howard.
In the second part of this panel discussion just off Tahrir Square in Cairo, a panel of bloggers, journalists and human rights experts ask what are – and what should be – the limits to freedom of expression in Egypt today.
In this panel discussion just off Tahrir Square in Cairo, a panel of bloggers, journalists and human rights experts ask what are – and what should be – the limits to freedom of expression in Egypt today.
Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui was fired for publicly calling on President Felipe Calderón to clarify rumours that he suffered from alcoholism, writes Felipe Correa.
Beyond Citizen Kane, a documentary on the 1989 Brazilian election, argues that broadcaster Rede Globo manipulated the montage in favour of one of the two remaining candidates, writes Felipe Correa.
The Turkish government has proposed a bill that will suspend all media offences committed before December 2011. But will the draft law actually improve press freedom, asks Funda Ustek.
Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad was found dead after publishing an article on the links between al-Qaida and Pakistan’s military, writes Ayyaz Mallick.
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.
Lord Justice Leveson’s proposal for a celebrity privacy register that would allow famous individuals to opt out of the media limelight has divided magazine editors, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
In March 2011, two prominent investigative journalists were arrested in Turkey because of their alleged ties to a terrorist organisation. Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener faced 15 years’ imprisonment if they were convicted, write Funda Ustek and Irem Kok.
On July 23, 2011, two high-speed trains traveling on the Yongtaiwen railway line collided near the eastern coastal city of Wenzhou killing 40 people and injuring 191. A week later, all traces of the train accident had disappeared from newspaper and television programmes, writes Amy Qin.
The chairman of the German Pirate Party talks about ACTA, the right to be forgotten and privacy in Germany.
In 2010, Wikileaks released its first tranche of classified US state department cables. If Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, qualifies as a journalist then he would be protected under the first amendment, writes Katie Engelhart.
The former head of Formula One racing’s governing body talks about the difficulty of countering sensational claims made in a globally reported tabloid story, and draws a distinction between privacy and reputation.
Sandra Coliver, senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, says the right to information is essential for freedom of expression.
Jeff Howard explains what it means for a state to be a party to the ICCPR and how individuals can issue complaints about violations of free speech to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
In December 2011, the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity asked the journals Science and Nature to redact details of a study about an easily transmitted form of the H5N1 virus for fear it could be misused by bioterrorists. Maryam Omidi considers whether the censorship request was valid.
Citizen journalism has transformed the media landscape. Suggest examples of good citizen journalism here.
Israeli whistleblower Anat Kamm leaked 2,000 classified military documents obtained during her service with the Israeli Defence Force. Maryam Omidi discusses the claims of national security versus public interest.
In November 2011, South Africa’s lower house approved the protection of state information bill – legislation, which if passed can sentence those found guilty to up to 25 years’ imprisonment, writes Maryam Omidi.