Todd Landman explores the contradictions between the American Constitution and the freedoms it seeks to preserve.
Eric Heinze argues that the radicals and liberal grounds for free speech are not mutually exclusive.
Nicholas McGeehan explores restrictions on free speech and protest in the Arab Gulf states and the foreign policy responsibilities of Western governments.
Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in residence at Oxford University, considers the active encyclopedia’s first 15 years.
Helen Haft examines the case of a blogger prosecuted after an online argument and its implications for Russian free speech.
Purushottam Vikas engages with criticisms directed at a controversial petition regarding an Oxford India Society speaking event.
Rebecca Wong describes the combined pressures of Chinese political power and the interests of media proprietors.
The celebrated English novelist on Islam’s ‘totalitarian moment’ and why freedom of expression is not religion’s enemy but its protector.
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.
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.
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 2014, the citizens of Hong Kong staged an unofficial civil referendum in protest against the Beijing authorities’ attempts to undermine its independence. As Rebecca Wong reports, the majority of the votes were cast via a voting app on mobile phones.
A leaked document in June 2014 from Egypt’s ministry of the interior invited tenders for cyber-surveillance technology to combat blasphemy, sarcasm and ‘lack of morality’ – the technology would likely come from the west. Max Gallien reports.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kim Wilkinson examines the case of celebrated Australian artist Bill Henson, who caused controversy in 2008 with his photography that featured images of naked teenagers.
Leslie Green, a distinguished legal philosopher who has written extensively about issues of obscenity and pornography, challenges our case study on online porn filters.
How do we strike the right balance between freedom of expression and child protection? Sarah Glatte explores a proposal by the British government.
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.
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.
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.
Stephen Meili examines the contrasting UK and US treatment of people who refuse to declare a political allegiance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Libyan media are crippled by their Gaddafi legacy. Without new regulations and, above all, bravery to stand up to violent intimidation, freedom of speech remains a distant dream, writes Jerry Timmins.
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.
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.
On 10 October 2012 the Canadian teenager Amanda Todd committed suicide after years of cyber-bullying and harassment. Judith Bruhn describes a shocking case.
Peter Bradley describes a British initiative promoting free expression, public debate and active citizenship.
To honour the memory of Ronald Dworkin, a brilliant philosopher and advocate of free speech, we post his remarkable 2012 Dahrendorf Lecture.
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.
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.
The Indian constitution grants freedom to worship freely, but the mismanagement of temples undermines this freedom, writes Avani Bansal.
Indian journalist and writer Tarun Tejpal speaks about development and corruption in India, and the role of investigative journalism.
On 17 December 2010, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself – and began the Arab spring. Despite Islamist pressures on free speech and women’s rights, Rory McCarthy sees continued cause for hope.
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.
Russian social network VK launched six years ago and has since attracted 122 million users. But as Olga Shvarova explains, political and copyright crackdowns are limiting the free flow of information and ideas its users once enjoyed.
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.
Bans on eating beef and pork are contested in India. Manav Bhuhshan discusses why this is an issue of caste discrimination and can be seen as a restriction on freedom of expression.
We regularly highlight comments that have made an impression on us. Today’s comes from user Martinned responding to Brian Pellot’s discussion piece on the Innocence of Muslims controversy.
Judith Bruhn explores the theory and practice of privacy in Europe and whether a court injunction was enough to salvage the Duchess of Cambridge’s privacy.
During the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, a Turkish National TV presenter censored John Lennon’s song Imagine. FSD team member Funda Ustek discusses how Turkey is trying to eliminate its citizens’ ability to imagine a world without religion.
Author Evgeny Morozov highlights the dangers that sometimes emerge when governments and corporations harness the internet to serve their own objectives.
Acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak discusses the limits to free speech, the cosmopolitanism of her novels and the art of coexistence.
In 2011, a South African court banned the anti-apartheid song “Shoot the Boer” after ruling it hate speech, writes Nimi Hoffmann.
A history textbook underplaying Japanese imperialism caused controversy domestically and internationally, write Ayako Komine and Naoko Hosokawa.
In 2011, the US supreme court ruled in favour of the anti-gay church’s right to protest at military funerals, writes Casey Selwyn.
In 2008, six British ISPs blocked access to a Wikipedia page featuring an album cover with an image of a prepubescent naked girl, writes Maryam Omidi.
A South African art gallery removed an explicit painting of President Jacob Zuma after pressure from the African National Congress, write Nimi Hoffmann and Maryam Omidi.
Maryam Omidi takes a look at banned clothing around the world – and concludes that women tend to be the target of dogmatic dress codes.
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 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.
“People in Africa don’t have the freedom to speak freely and hold governments accountable,” says Nqobile Sibisi of Highway Africa’s Future Journalists Programme.
Punishing internet intermediaries for their content will have a chilling effect on free speech, says Kevin Bankston of the Centre for Democracy and Technology.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed a law to punish readers of websites promoting terrorism and violence, writes Clementine de Montjoye.
A new Tennessee law will permit teachers to discuss creationism alongside theories of evolution, writes Casey Selwyn.
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 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.
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.
Liam Stacey, a 21-year-old student, was sentenced to 56 days in prison for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter, writes Maryam Omidi.
A new law allowing parents to send their children to Islamic schools at an earlier age has polarized Turkish society, write İrem Kök and Funda Üstek.
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.
In 2011, a group of young Egyptians organised public film screenings to expose military violence against civilians, writes Hebatalla Taha.
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.
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.
Hate speech legislation chills freedom of expression more than it protects vulnerable minorities. Free speech lawyer Ivan Hare takes issue with Jeremy Waldron.
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.
“If you don’t ever feel hate, you have a broken personality,” says Canadian lawyer and publisher Ezra Levant.
Last year, Anna Hazare, a 74-year-old Indian anti-graft campaigner, undertook a “fast-unto-death” as a way of pressuring the government to enact anti-corruption legislation. Should a hunger strike be protected as a form of free expression? Manav Bhushan and Katie Engelhart offer contrasting views.
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.
In 2009, the Chinese authorities blocked access to the Berlin Twitter Wall from within China following a flood of tweets calling for an end to internet censorship, writes Judith Bruhn.
As of August 2012, Saudi Arabian writer Hamza Kashgari faced a trial for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Twitter, writes Brian Pellot.
Confucianism’s defence of political speech does not necessarily apply to other forms of expression, says Bell.
For some, Valentine’s Day means chocolate and roses. For a group of Indian writers it has become an opportunity to reclaim freedom of expression in India.
Deposed president Mohamed Nasheed will always be remembered as the man who brought free speech to the Maldives, writes Maryam Omidi.
In part one of this interview with Timothy Garton Ash, Ian Brown of the Oxford Internet Institute talks about the internet and freedom of expression, net neutrality, internet service providers and censorship by both democratic and autocratic governments.
The founder of the free software movement talks about internet giants Google and Facebook, Creative Commons and internet freedom.