Designers need to pay attention to the architecture of theatres as possible political spaces, argues Richard Sennett.
Helen Haft explains how the Orthodox Church has eroded freedom of the media and lobbied for the 2013 law against offending religious feelings.
Iginio Gagliardone explores the surprising technopolitics of two competing visions of the internet, US and Chinese, in Ethiopia.
Boycotts betray free enquiry, but Viktor Orbán’s moves against the Central European University at least make them worth debating, says Eric Heinze
Avi Shlaim explores whether there was anything Obama could have done to salvage his reputation in the remaining weeks of his lame-duck presidency.
Avi Shlaim explores the quality of debate within British politics of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and argues that an anti-racist movement has been portrayed as a racist one.
Udit Bhatia discusses a landmark ruling concerning the conduct of elections and its potential to stifle democratic debate.
Tony Koutsoumbos explores the lessons from his own experiences in building an environment of robust and strong public debate.
Nicholas McGeehan explores restrictions on free speech and protest in the Arab Gulf states and the foreign policy responsibilities of Western governments.
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.
Kerem Öktem describes the dramatic deterioration of Turkey’s media landscape after the attempted coup of July 2016.
Noam Chomsky talks about Edward Snowden, laws regulating historical memory, no-platforming, internet echo chambers and the lack of diversity in the American media.
A transcript of our conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who spoke to Free Speech Debate about her book ‘Until We Are Free’.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi talks to Free Speech Debate about her book Until We Are Free and the state of free speech and human rights activism in Iran.
Jonathan Leader Maynard examines the difficulties in assessing and managing the role of speech in violence.
Looking at the long sweep of the AKP’s rule, Kerem Öktem shows how the window of free speech in Turkey has closed.
Julian Simmons examines a Singaporean’s expletive-laden video on the recently deceased leader and his conviction for wounding religious feelings.
Maryhen Jiménez Morales explores how leftist political leaders in Latin America have limited free speech in their countries through populist discourse and political propaganda.
Maja Sojref examines how a law on the prevention of harm to the State of Israel exposes the tension between freedom of expression and national security.
Declan Johnston explores whether regulatory requirements for Ireland’s broadcasters worked well in its referendum on same-sex marriage.
Tore Slaatta investigates Norwegian artists’ views on their freedom of expression in contemporary society.
Vanya Bhargav explains the battle behind the Indian government’s ban on a BBC documentary about a notorious gang rape.
Jason Q Ng traces the path of a censored Weibo post and tracks keywords that trigger automatic review.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Timothy Garton Ash introduces a translation of our ten principles into Catalan and a reflection on having Catalan as your native language.
Pere Vilanova reflects on his personal experience of learning his ‘native’ tongue – as a third language.
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.
Nazi past? Stasi past? Sebastian Huempfer challenges the conventional explanations for Germany’s strong reaction to Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA snooping.
Middle East specialist Rory McCarthy examines the role of Islamist movement Ennahdha in shaping, and constraining, freedom of speech in Tunisia after the Arab Spring.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Kerem Oktem, in Istanbul, reflects on the pernicious influence of the government and business interests on Turkish broadcasters.
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.
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.
Timothy Garton Ash delivers the Orwell Lecture at an unprecedented literary festival in Rangoon. He talks about three Orwells and three Burmas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
If the territorial dispute over Kashmir is not addressed through open debate, it may become “another Afghanistan”, says the Indian supreme court lawyer.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
A top Google executive was arrested in Brazil when the company refused to remove YouTube videos that made accusations against a local mayoral candidate. Felipe Correa discusses the case.
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.
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.
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.
Indian Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was recently arrested on sedition charges. Manav Bhushan discusses how an archaic section of India’s penal code has been used to silence government critics.
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.
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.
Manav Bhushan, an Indian member of the Free Speech Debate team, makes the case for blocking hate-filled websites in his country.
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.
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.
Author Evgeny Morozov highlights the dangers that sometimes emerge when governments and corporations harness the internet to serve their own objectives.
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.
Former investigative journalist Haiyan Wang describes the ways in which Chinese reporters push the boundaries of press freedom. Interview by Judith Bruhn.
In 2011, a South African court banned the anti-apartheid song “Shoot the Boer” after ruling it hate speech, writes Nimi Hoffmann.
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.
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.
Igor Sutyagin, the Russian nuclear researcher sentenced to 15 years for espionage, found himself at the centre of a spy-swap deal in 2010, writes Olga Shvarova.
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.
A South Korean photographer explains his ordeal in holding an exhibition in Japan that documents ageing ‘Comfort Women’, writes Lee Yoo Eun.
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.
Free Speech Debate’s 10 draft principles benefit those in positions of privilege and power, writes Sebastian Huempfer.
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.
Writer Maureen Freely talks about the sustained hate campaign in Turkey against the author and Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk.
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.
Amy O’Donnell explains how she’s using text messages to help African radio stations engage their listeners on important political issues.
EU member states should reform the data protection framework to address the realities of life in the Web 2.0 age, writes David Erdos
China may provide censorship tools to autocratic regimes in Africa, but western companies still dominate this market, writes Iginio Gagliardone, a post-doctoral fellow at Oxford University.
History is a sensitive issue in China with some of it desperately remembered and some, deliberately forgotten, writes Judith Bruhn.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed a law to punish readers of websites promoting terrorism and violence, writes Clementine de Montjoye.
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.
Killer Anders Behring Breivik’s testimony should be broadcast live to deter extremism, argues Anne Ardem, executive editor at Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.
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.
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.
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.
Online censorship is futile as it can almost always be circumvented, says Moez Chakchouk, the head of the Tunisian Internet Agency.
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.
The co-founder of Global Voices discusses the nexus between governments, internet companies and citizens.
Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui was fired for publicly calling on President Felipe Calderón to clarify rumours that he suffered from alcoholism, writes Felipe Correa.
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.
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.
Professor Paolo Mancini argues that while new technologies offer opportunities, they also lead to political and social polarisation.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Confucianism’s defence of political speech does not necessarily apply to other forms of expression, says Bell.
In 2009, Aasia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman was accused of blasphemy. The governor who called for a review of her case was killed two years later, writes Ayyaz Mallick.
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
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.
Deposed president Mohamed Nasheed will always be remembered as the man who brought free speech to the Maldives, writes Maryam Omidi.
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.
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.
In 2011, the Belarusian police arrested scores of people at a silent protest in Minsk. Annabelle Chapman looks at the case.
The president of the Open Society Foundations talks about free speech as a universal aspiration, group libel and the Skokie controversy.
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.