Protecting the freedom of speech
in The free speech wars
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This chapter is a framing/scene-setting essay that sets the issue in the historical context of debates on the 'limits' of free speech, using examples from the work of Index on Censorship over the past fifty years as a dedicated freedom of expression and anti-censorship organisation that works globally. This includes setting the challenges of freedom of expression in the context of threats from authoritarian regimes, abuse of 'hate speech' legislation by certain countries and groups and the way 'freedom of speech' has been co-opted by the far right as a fig-leaf to excuse hateful views. The chapter considers the challenges that this presents for non-partisan champions of freedom of expression.

The free speech wars

How did we get here and why does it matter?


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