Free Speech Debate

Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony’s College in the University of Oxford.

Free Speech Debate ( is a global, multilingual website for the discussion of free speech in the age of globalisation and the internet. Ten draft principles for global free speech are laid out, together with explanations and case studies – all for debate. Prominent figures from diverse cultures, faiths and political tendencies are interviewed and asked to comment, through video, audio and text. Among them, we have the director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in Hong Kong, Ying Chan; inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee on the power of the internet; the director of the Moral Courage Project and author Irshad Manji on what respect for Muslims should mean; Human Rights expert Aryeh Neier on the universality of free speech, and many more. By now we have 74 case studies from 27 countries, 59 discussion pieces, 57 audio-visual contributions, and subscribers from more than 80 countries.

The project is programmatically dedicated to taking the free speech debate beyond the west and global north, into the east and south. All editorial content is carefully translated into 13 languages by native-speakers of those languages – mainly graduate students at Oxford University. Anyone can then contribute to the online discussion in these, or in any other languages, and there is a facility to give a rough translation of every user–generated comment into most other languages using machine translation. The website is actively moderated by, and the original content generated by, an international team at Oxford University, working under the leadership of Timothy Garton Ash.

Individual users from across the world are strongly encouraged to come on the site and to take part in the online discussion of free speech values for an interconnected world.

Free Speech Debate

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