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.
Jude Dibia explores the criminalisation and violence faced by the LGBTI community after the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.
Bill Snaddon discusses political reform in Nigeria and the prosecution of the killers of Nigerian writers and journalists.
Udit Bhatia discusses the Indian government’s use of colonial-era laws against sedition and its failure to protect protestors taken into police custody.
Andreia Reis examines the prosecution of Rafael Marques and how free speech has been constrained in Angola.
Free speech can make for uncomfortable listening, argues Roger Scruton, but it needs to be defended even when it gives offence.
Julian Simmons examines a Singaporean’s expletive-laden video on the recently deceased leader and his conviction for wounding religious feelings.
Udit Bhatia explores the changing nature of state censorship of film in India and prospects for the future.
Purushottam Vikas engages with criticisms directed at a controversial petition regarding an Oxford India Society speaking event.
Laura Bernal-Bermudez examines a judgement that actually led to a change in the Chilean constitution
Declan Johnston explores whether regulatory requirements for Ireland’s broadcasters worked well in its referendum on same-sex marriage.
Erika Rackley and Clare McGlynn consider the evidence for this ‘cultural harm’ and argue that education is the best way to counter it.
In the shadow of the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, Arthur Asseraf examines the history of French colonial double standards in Algeria.
Sebastian Huempfer examines the tortured controversy around republication of a copyright-free Mein Kampf in Germany.
Max Harris examines a historic judgment by India’s Supreme Court and its lessons for other countries.
Luigi Cajani explains how Italy’s draft law on the denial of international crimes minimises the impact on intellectual freedom.
Max Harris explains how Britain legislated against it and compares this with the position in other common law countries
Rebecca Wong describes the combined pressures of Chinese political power and the interests of media proprietors.
Leslie Green argues that Buddhist ideas about avoiding divisive, abusive and false speech can help us live together well in free societies
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 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.
In 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a famous ruling in a case involving a high school teacher and alleged anti-Semitism. Max Harris explains.
Internet Service Providers do not merely route data packets from end-to-end, but are heavily involved in monitoring their customers’ online activities. Ian Brown discusses the implications of Britain’s suggested “voluntary” opting out of “adult content”, with little parliamentary and court involvement.
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.
A British citizen blogged about a Tanzanian media magnate involved in throwing her and her husband off their Tanzanian farm. He sued for libel in a British court. Dominic Burbidge 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”.
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.
Free speech scholar Eric Heinze identifies the main arguments for laws restricting hate speech and says none are valid for mature Western democracies.
For one taxi company in the Russian town of Kostroma, the answer turned out to be yes. Sergey Fadeev explains.
University of Oslo professor Tore Slaatta describes a pioneering project to evaluate freedom of expression in a whole country.
How do we strike the right balance between freedom of expression and child protection? Sarah Glatte explores a proposal by the British government.
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?
The debate raised by revelations of NSA surveillance has drawn our attention to how we are being tracked online. Sebastian Huempfer describes a new tool to show us how those electronic cookies crumble.
The Nigerian government is rumoured to have sealed a $40m dollar contract for internet surveillance technology. There is no clear justification for this “secret” deal, and no assurance that the technology would be used fairly, given Nigeria’s lack of established rights for citizen privacy. By Nwachukwu Egbunike and Dominic Burbidge.
Josh Black hears the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, discuss the quest for shared laws and standards.
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.
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.
Legal philosopher Martha Nussbaum gave the 2013 Dahrendorf Lecture, exploring how to live with religious diversity.
Stephen Meili examines the contrasting UK and US treatment of people who refuse to declare a political allegiance.
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.
A university librarian faced a lawsuit over a critical blog post about the publishing house Edwin Mellen Press but online solidarity won out. By Dominic Burbidge.
A globally-effective privacy regime is a realistic goal, argues Ian Brown. But it needs giants like Google to get behind it.
Our user imos.org.uk argues with one of our draft principles challenging the idea that privacy is a condition for free speech.
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.
Nigel Warburton spoke with Timothy Garton Ash for Index on Censorship’s Free Speech Bites about the Free Speech Debate Project and global free speech standards.
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.
The forthcoming trial of Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang poses vital questions about the connections between words and violence, argues Katherine Bruce-Lockhart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Chinese government’s stance towards the question of free speech is guided by a philosophy that is complex but intelligent. Rogier Creemers diagnoses the underlying causes.
On 10 October 2012 the Canadian teenager Amanda Todd committed suicide after years of cyber-bullying and harassment. Judith Bruhn describes a shocking case.
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 Chinese Communist Party aims to control privately owned media without appearing to do so. A strike at a local newspaper imperils that balance, writes Liu Jin.
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi stresses the importance of free speech but emphasises the Buddhist idea of “right speech”.
A new cybercrime law in the Philippines would give unfettered powers to the state to monitor internet users, take down websites and imprison citizens writes Purple S. Romero
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.
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”.
Jerry Timmins describes a new report on media in two post-conflict societies, and argues that countries like Britain should do more to support them.
Facebook’s automatic detection of the word ‘Jude’ led to the blocking of A Hungarian anti-fascist group’s post. Tamas Szigeti explores the worrying implications of automatic filtering for freedom of 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.
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.
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.
Manav Bhushan, an Indian member of the Free Speech Debate team, makes the case for blocking hate-filled websites in his country.
Brazil’s Supreme Court renewed a law that requires journalists to hold a university degree in journalism. A currently discussed Amendment to the Constitution could further restrict the country’s media writes Felipe Correa.
Was punk band Pussy Riot’s anti-Putin performance in a Moscow church ‘religious hatred hooliganism’ or an artistic form of political dissent? Olga Shvarova considers the case.
Claus Leggewie and Horst Meier explain why memory laws are the wrong way for Europeans to remember and debate their difficult pasts.
The drive to control all references to the Olympic Games is part of a global creep of intellectual property law that has led to a “right of association”, writes Teresa Scassa.
Amendments approved by the senate of the Netherlands limit the ability of internet service providers to block or slow down applications and services on the internet, writes Graham Reynolds.
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.
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.
In 2012, Tarek Mehanna was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison by a US court for conspiring to provide support to terrorists, writes Jeff Howard.
The public nature of the Leveson Inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal has been exemplary, writes Timothy Garton Ash.
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
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.
Join Free Speech Debate and ARTICLE 19 in London on Thursday 3 May for a panel discussion on the impact of ACTA on global free expression
Environmental information is tightly controlled in China despite the existence of access to information regulations, writes Sam Geall.
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.
Leading free speech expert Eric Barendt defends a British parliamentary report on privacy against criticisms by campaigning journalist John Kampfner.
The director of civil liberties group Liberty calls for a review of all speech crime legislation in the UK.
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.
Two Christian women are taking their fight to wear a crucifix in the workplace to the European Court of Human Rights, writes Dominic Burbidge.
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.
In 2010, the Hungarian prime minister passed a series of laws, giving excessive control over all private media to the government, writes Peter Bajomi-Lazar, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.
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.
Three human rights experts scrutinise the defamation of religion, which they argue misses the point by protecting faith but not vulnerable believes
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 October 2001, an Evangelical Christian preacher called Harry Hammond held up a placard saying, “Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism.” When Hammond refused to stop, a policeman arrested him. Timothy Garton Ash discusses an instructive case.
“If you don’t ever feel hate, you have a broken personality,” says Canadian lawyer and publisher Ezra Levant.
Jeremy Waldron, professor of social and political theory at Oxford University, argues the case for legislation against hate speech
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 execution of apostates should be annulled but insulting religion should be recognised as a crime, writes Iranian cleric Mohsen Kadivar.
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.
Naguib Sawiris was accused of contempt for tweeting an image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, respectively sporting a bushy beard and veil, writes Jacob Amis
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.
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.
Tim Wu, the author of ‘The Master Switch’, says that while the right to be forgotten is a good idea in theory but wouldn’t work in practice.
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.
Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, tells us why Facebook should not go into China and why Twitter’s new take-down policy may harm the microblog
Sebastian Nerz, the chairman of the German Pirate Party talks about ACTA, the right to be forgotten and privacy in Germany.
Private powers are not a “large threat” to free speech, the Canadian lawyer and publisher tells Katie Engelhart.
The US supreme court’s decision on Citizens United raises a vital issue: should corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals? Brian Pellot discusses the case.
The Stop Online Piracy Act is currently being debated in the US house of representatives. Brian Pellot considers the potential consequences of the bill.
In 2008, the British Chiropractic Association launched a defamation lawsuit against science writer Simon Singh over an op-ed in which he suggested chiropractors lacked evidence for some of their medical claims. Maryam Omidi examines the case.
In 2011, Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders was cleared of charges of group defamation, incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims. Rutger Kaput looks at the case.
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.
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.
Professor Eric Barendt of University College London discusses the delicate balance between free speech and privacy.
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.