Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have your say: What should the global standards for free expression be?

Have your say: What should the global standards for free expression be?


The Internet and mobile phones have opened up endless possibilities for free expression. But how best should we use this freedom? What limits should there be and what should be regulated by law? And who should decide? Oxford University has launched a multilingual platform, Free Speech Debate, to debate global norms for free expression - and wants you to join the conversation.

The conversation is organised around 10 draft principles for global free expression. Each comes with an explanation and case studies - all up for debate. Prominent individuals have been asked to comment on specific issues, including Indian novelist Arundhati Roy on the media and national security in India; Iranian cleric Mohsen Kadivar on Islam and free speech; Chinese academic Yan Xuetong on universal values; and former Formula One head Max Mosley on privacy. Hear their thoughts, and then have your say in any or all of the online discussions.

You can enter into conversation with users from other countries and cultures, propose new case studies and submit suggestions for the 11th principle, which has intentionally been left open.

The research project is headed by U.K. historian and journalist Timothy Garton Ash, with help from a team of graduate students who are native speakers of each of the website's 13 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Free Speech Debate estimates they can potentially reach more than 80 percent of Internet users - and work towards "a more genuinely universal universalism."

The debate will run for about six months. It will also be archived by Oxford University's Bodleian Library, so that future readers can see how it evolved and use it as an online resource.

Access it here:
Free Speech Debate

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