Freedom of Speech

Posted by on 17/03/2018

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Date(s) - 17/03/2018 - 18/03/2018
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Lisbon 2018

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Freedom of speech – the right to speak out, to debate, to criticize, to disseminate information on matters of public importance – is one of the most basic of human rights. Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” The constitutions and laws of countless countries strive to protect the free-speech rights of individuals and journalists. Yet the right to speak out is not absolute, and it is not enjoyed by everyone.

Defamation laws and human rights codes regulate and penalize those who would use speech to harm and denigrate others. Many governments pay lip service to guarantees of free expression; others actively censor citizens and the media; still others use punitive laws to attack and silence critics. Social stigma and excessive political correctness stifle debate and demonize some speakers, and ethnic and racial groups are the targets of hostility and hate speech.

In western countries where speech is largely considered to be free, notions such as “post truth”, “alternative facts” or “fake news” are recently making headlines, making us wonder about the responsibilities that come with public speech and about where the line should be drawn between an individual’s right to express themselves freely and society’s right not to be purposefully misinformed.

This inclusive interdisciplinary conference aims to explore all aspects of free speech at the beginning of the 21st century. What can we say about governments, corporations, ethnic groups, and each other? What are we forbidden from saying, and what is the impact of these restrictions? How does censorship in all its forms – official, interpersonal and self-censorship – affect public discourse? What are the legal and political limits on freedom of speech, and how do these limitations vary between countries and between systems of government? How are the Internet, social media, and other communications technologies expanding free speech, and in what ways are these new modes of communication eroding this fundamental freedom? How are statements that promote hatred or defame others disseminated in today’s world, and how are these corrosive forms of speech prohibited or controlled?

For further details and information please visit the conference web page;