Freedom of speech

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Lazy Trout 13 Apr 2015
1. Freedom of speech is the civil and political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
2. Governments restrict speech with varying limitations. Common limitations on speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, hate speech, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, public security, public order, public nuisance, campaign finance reform and oppression. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party's opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not.
That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” - JS Mill
3.” Last week I lost count of the number of times we’ve been told, pace the Charlie Hebdo murders, that we have no right not to be offended, that freedom of speech involves the possibility of criticism and ridicule of any religion; indeed, that it’s the flip side of religious liberty. Salman Rushdie, who has more right to make the point than most, said that ‘religion deserves our fearless disrespect’….” Melanie McDonagh in the Spectator
4. Does Art have a special place in our tradition of Free Speech?
5. “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 Speech University Rankings (FSUR). They reveal that 80% of UK higher education institutions routinely regulate and actively restrict students’ free speech and expression in some way.” Dennis Hayes prof of education Uni of Derby
6. Has the internet expanded the right to freedom of speech? In particular Twitter
7. How do large corporations affect our free speech?
8. How should transgressions of the limits of free speech be punished?
9. “Who hates free speech? The powerful and the powerless: ruling parties and established religions, those who would suppress what is said in order to retain power, and those who would change what is said in order to alter the relations of power. Who else? Those who do not wish to be disturbed also hate free speech. Why, they might say, should I care about free speech? I have nothing to say; and insofar as things should be said at all, I only want to hear the things that people like me say. Why should I have to hear things that are offensive, immoral, or even mildly irritating? “ – James Pontin in a Letter to JS Mill

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