Kenan Malik

Kenan Malik

Who Has the Right to Speak?

Coleridge Series/
Tue 21 May 2019

Kenan Malik

Who Has the Right to Speak?

Kenan Malik
Tue 21 May 2019,

The government bans unacceptable speakers from entering the country. Courts jail ‘hate preachers’. Social media companies delete ‘offensive’ accounts. Companies sack workers for ‘inappropriate’ comments. Student unions no-platform feminist ‘transphobes’. Twitter mobs hound people off social media. Academics set up a journal to allow researchers, fearful for their jobs, to publish anonymously.

Is freedom of speech under threat in Britain? Are we living in particularly censorious times?  How does the debate about free speech relate to the growth of identity politics? What should be the limits to freedom of expression? Does the promotion of free speech undermine campaigns to limit bigotry and hatred? How can we encourage public debate about controversial issues when many find any discussion of such issues offensive? Author and commentator Kenan Malik explores the history of free speech, analyses the contemporary status of freedom of expression, and lays out what we need to do for the future.

This event is part of our annual Coleridge Series, inspired by Coleridge’s wide-ranging and radical lectures in Bristol in the 1790s.

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