Lewis Willcocks talks to Dr Teresa M. Bejan, Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford, about her recent book ‘Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration’ (Harvard University Press) and what early modern debates over religion can teach us about diversity and discourse in the twenty-first century.
Avi Shlaim argues that when it comes to debates concerning Israel, free speech has become stifled in British academia.
Tony Koutsoumbos explores the lessons from his own experiences in building an environment of robust and strong public debate.
Eric Heinze argues that the radicals and liberal grounds for free speech are not mutually exclusive.
Jude Dibia explores the criminalisation and violence faced by the LGBTI community after the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.
Paul Cliteur and Tom Herrenberg, editors of a book on The Fall and Rise of Blasphemy Law, consider the changing nature of censorship.
Sara Khorshid reports from a panel discussion that brought together former hate preachers, feminists and ordinary Arab youth to debate the limits of free speech in the new Middle East.
Maja Sojref and Sarah Glatte explore the growing public disillusionment with the mainstream press in Germany.
Timothy Garton Ash introduces the report of a committee on freedom of expression at the University of Chicago
Jonathan Leader Maynard examines the difficulties in assessing and managing the role of speech in violence.
Danyal Kazim explores the violent reaction to the YouTube video in Pakistan – starting with trying to access it from there.
Sarah Glatte explores the controversy over trigger warnings and asks whether they help or hinder free speech.
Matthew Walton explores the deeper Buddhist context of right speech – and soul-searching on Buddhist internet message boards.
Leslie Green argues that Buddhist ideas about avoiding divisive, abusive and false speech can help us live together well in free societies
The first edition of the magazine since the attack in which 12 people were killed featured a cartoon of Muhammad on its cover. Myriam Francois-Cerrah objects.
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.
At the London School of Economics Students’s Union Freshers’ Fair members of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Student Society were asked to cover up their T-shirts displaying a Jesus and Mo cartoon. This panel discussion discusses the freedom to offend and how to balance freedom of expression and civility.
In the case of McCullen v Coakley, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling about restrictions on speech around abortion clinics. Max Harris explains.
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.
Max Harris explains why journalist Andrew Bolt was found in breach of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act for articles about “fair-skinned Aboriginal people”.
Free speech scholar Eric Heinze identifies the main arguments for laws restricting hate speech and says none are valid for mature Western democracies.
Cherian George on how hate speech is gaining virulence in Asian countries such as Myanmar, and how peace-building workshops represent a positive step forward.
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.
How do we strike the right balance between freedom of expression and child protection? Sarah Glatte explores a proposal by the British government.
Katie Engelhart speaks to Ahmad Akkari to find out why he apologised to one of the Danish cartoonists eight years after fuelling worldwide fury.
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.
We regularly highlight comments that have made an impression on us. FSD user Perreaoult argues that Art has to be completely free as an instrument of expression.
Legal philosopher Martha Nussbaum gave the 2013 Dahrendorf Lecture, exploring how to live with religious diversity.
Protests held by far right groups in ethnically diverse areas are provocation, but banning them can have undesired effects. Josh Black looks at a ban on the English Defence League in East London.
Our user imos.org.uk argues with one of our draft principles challenging the idea that privacy is a condition for free speech.
The Mormons reacted brilliantly to the musical satirising their faith, but something important is lost when we treat religions so differently – writes Katie Engelhart.
The Russian parliament’s vote in support of a declaration against acts offending religious sentiments is symptomatic of worrying trends, write Olga Shvarova and Dominic Burbidge.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court made history by ruling that, to merit conviction, the violence advocated must be intended, likely and imminent. By Jeff Howard.
Did the European Court of Human Rights wrongly considered the distribution of child pornography to be an exercise of freedom of expression in the case Karttunen v. Finland, asks Rónán Ó Fathaigh.
Should a world famous actress be allowed to denounce an ‘overpopulation’ by foreigners? By Michèle Finck.
A famous case of state censorship in Austria highlights the tendency of governments to pander to the majority, leaving controversial views unprotected. By Michele Finck.
At the European Court of Human Rights, the case of I.A. against Turkey in 2005 acted as a controversial precedent for limiting Article 10’s definition of freedom of expression in the name of religion, explains Michele Finck.
On 10 October 2012 the Canadian teenager Amanda Todd committed suicide after years of cyber-bullying and harassment. Judith Bruhn describes a shocking case.
Islam, Christianity and Judaism are often accused of wanting to restrict free speech. Dominic Burbidge suggests a radically different perspective, from inside the thought-system of the Abrahamic faiths.
To honour the memory of Ronald Dworkin, a brilliant philosopher and advocate of free speech, we post his remarkable 2012 Dahrendorf Lecture.
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi stresses the importance of free speech but emphasises the Buddhist idea of “right speech”.
The historian and writer explains the reasoning behind author Salman Rushdie’s no-show at the 2012 Jaipur Literary Festival.
Should government-initiated phone hacking be made public if the recordings are in the public interest? Shubhangi Bhadada exposes the thin line in India between the right to privacy and freedom of expression.
If the territorial dispute over Kashmir is not addressed through open debate, it may become “another Afghanistan”, says the Indian supreme court lawyer.
In 2010 president Barack Obama signed a law banning videos that depict animal cruelty. Judith Bruhn explores whether this is a justified restriction to freedom of expression.
FSD user and regular commenter Luke Landau, a telecommunications engineer, argues the International Telecommunications Regulations are long overdue for an update.
A new report shows only 12% of US election coverage on the abortion debate quotes women. Judith Bruhn explores why this under-representation of women’s voices is undermining women’s freedom of speech.
FSD’s Katie Engelhart sat in on this Frontline Club debate to discuss controversy surrounding the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims.
While a Pakistani minister offers a $100,000 reward for the murder of the man who made the notorious Innocence of Muslims video, a British Muslim responds in exemplary fashion to “this imbecile named Sam Bacile”. Timothy Garton Ash commends his clip.
Join us to debate the role internet platforms like YouTube should play in setting free speech agendas in your country, your language and across the world. Online editor Brian Pellot kicks off the discussion.
The speed and ubiquity of mobile devices have changed the context of “hate speech” online, writes Peter Molnar.
In 2011, a South African court banned the anti-apartheid song “Shoot the Boer” after ruling it hate speech, writes Nimi Hoffmann.
The German comedian Serdar Somuncu recites extracts from Mein Kampf to highlight the absurdity of Hitler’s propaganda, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
A South Korean photographer explains his ordeal in holding an exhibition in Japan that documents ageing ‘Comfort Women’, writes Lee Yoo Eun.
Free Speech Debate’s 10 draft principles benefit those in positions of privilege and power, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
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.
A pro-life campaigner and a pro-choice activist go head-to-head in this debate about the rise of US-style anti-abortion protests outside clinics in the UK.
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.
Restrictions on hate speech are not a means of tackling bigotry but of rebranding often obnoxious ideas or arguments are immoral, argues writer Kenan Malik.
The director of civil liberties group Liberty calls for a review of all speech crime legislation in the UK.
Two Christian women are taking their fight to wear a crucifix in the workplace to the European Court of Human Rights, writes Dominic Burbidge.
A Japanese video game that involved raping women was banned three years after its creation following an international outcry by women’s groups, writes Judith Bruhn.
Hate speech legislation chills freedom of expression more than it protects vulnerable minorities. Free speech lawyer Ivan Hare takes issue with Jeremy Waldron.
Susan Benesch, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, discusses hate speech and dangerous speech with Timothy Garton Ash
Jeremy Waldron, professor of social and political theory at Oxford University, argues the case for legislation against hate speech
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.
“The one thing not at issue in the Jaipur controversy was some theologically motivated attack on the freedom of expression,” writes historian Faisal Devji.
Author Salman Rushdie cancelled his appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival after being informed that “paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld” were out to kill him, writes Manav Bhushan
The director of the Moral Courage Project says so-called ‘respect’ for Muslims is often lined with fear and “low expectations” of those practising the faith.
The director general of the BBC explains why it aired Jerry Springer: The Opera, and talks about different responses to Christianity and Islam.
For values to be considered universal, at least half the world should accept them, says Professor Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University.
The Grass Mud Horse Lexicon, a catalogue of subversive online witticisms in China, is an example of the unflagging creativity of the human spirit, writes Amy Qin.
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.
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.
Our international team of Oxford University graduate students has translated almost all of our editorial and specially commissioned content – a demanding task given the cultural and semantic differences across languages. You can find out more about the difficulties they faced in our Lost in translation? blog posts. This week, Maryam Omidi takes a look at “civility”.
Was it right to make Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the IMF, do the “perp walk” after he was charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York? Clementine de Montjoye argues no.
The definition of ‘reputation’ is hard to pin down and has varied from age to age and place to place. Let us know your understanding of the word here.
The Indian authorities’ decision to ban Savita Bhabhi, an online comic strip featuring a promiscuous housewife with an insatiable appetite for sex, was met with a criticism from the press. Maryam Omidi weighs up whether it was the right decision.
Since its creation in 1987, Artist Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, a plastic crucifix in a jar of urine, has divided opinion. In April 2011, the artwork was irreparably damaged by vandals at the Collection Lambert art museum. Katie Engelhart considers whether it was right for the museum to have exhibited the work.