Freedom of speech

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Students protest at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University demanding the right to be taught in English rather than Afrikaans, which they identify with apartheid. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Universities need to manage hate speech, not stifle freedom of expression

The university should be the bastion of the right to free expression in the promotion of democracy, and has a moral and ethical obligation to provide spaces for fierce debate and critical engagement.
King Mswati III, centre, with his regiments at Ludzidzini royal palace during the annual Reed Dance in August. Swaziland ranks among the worst in Africa for its level of democracy. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

African democracy update: satisfaction remains elusive for many

Satisfaction with democracy varies widely in Africa. Across 28 countries, only 46% of citizens say they are “very satisfied” or “fairly satisfied” with the way democracy works in their countries.
Joe Hockey’s successful defamation case against Fairfax Media raises questions about the extent to which politicians should be able to sue in relation to publications about their public conduct. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Hockey v Fairfax should start the debate on defamation law reform

Hockey v Fairfax illustrates that recent legal and technological developments still pose challenges for defamation law, which has not been reformed to keep pace with these changes.
Picking a fight with a media company should not be a politician’s priority. AAP/Nikki Short

Hockey’s defamation win is dark news for democracy and free speech

The elephant in the room in the just-concluded defamation case between Joe Hockey and Fairfax Media was the actual story being attacked. Media organisations ought to be able to instigate the debate without fear of reprisals by litigious politicians.
In Tony Abbott’s worldview, it seems, a person’s freedom of speech depends whose side they are on. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Abbott spins tangled web of free speech and editorial judgement

In all the politicking and government attacks on the ABC for giving a platform to former terror suspect Zaky Mallah, the free speech debate has become confused.
No platform policies are morphing into bans that threaten free speech. Chris Radburn/PA Archive

New ranking exposes curbs on university freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is at the heart of academic life and a university should be a place where every issue is discussed and debated. Not so, according to the findings presented in the first ever Freedom of…
Foreign PR campaigns have been waged for decades. Films like 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front were significantly altered to appease Germany’s Nazi Party.

How foreign governments can influence American media – and tried to block my documentary

Feature films and television shows notoriously play fast-and-loose with the facts. When prologues proclaim “Based on a True Story,” they’re gracefully implying that what follows is mostly fiction. Awards…
What happened to “bless those who curse you”? Francis R Malasig/EPA

Pope Francis gives freedom of speech a cruel punch

Approaching his third year as head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis appeared to be doing so well. That is, until after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, he’s said that those who mock faith should be…

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