The politicisation of campus free speech in Portugal
in The free speech wars
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In 2017 a right-wing student organisation, Nova Portugalidade, invited the controversial figure Jaime Nogueira Pinto to speak at the famously left-wing Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of the New University of Lisbon. Nogueira Pinto is perhaps best known nationally for his defence of the dictator António Salazar on the television programme The Greatest Portuguese, as well as publishing polemical texts on Portuguese colonialism and Islam. The ensuing withdrawal of a platform for Nogueira Pinto by the Faculty’s director, in response to pressure from the students’ association, resulted in protests, counter-protests and threats of violence, and opened up a national conversation on the pros and cons of ‘no-platforming’ that elicited comment from public figures up to and including the President of the Republic. The Portuguese case is indicative of the way that extremist politics is dependent, in nascent culture wars, on mainstream media and politics to amplify its message. Among the reasons for the transformation of a local dispute between students into a national controversy was the role played by right-wing pundits writing in Observador, a national newspaper, and by the extreme-right party, PNR (National Renovator Party), in attracting the attention and comment of mainstream media and pundits.

The free speech wars

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