Free speech now? How much freedom of expression can we tolerate?

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At 19:00 CET on the 8th July 2016, the Freiblickinstitut‘s Berlin Salon held a debate which looked at the limits to freedom of expression in contemporary German society.

Debate highlights from this English-language debate can be found at the top of this page and you can also access a full-length audio recording on the former live streaming page.

Theme / Speakers / Location / Video highlights / Related articles

About the debate:

When Jan Böhmermann was taken to court for his satirical poem about Erdoğan it triggered a public debate about free expression. Indeed, freedom of expression is protected in the German Constitution, however, even in liberal Germany, there are limits to the extent to which this applies. When, a couple of weeks ago, the founder of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, was fined for making xenophobic comments, only his own supporters protested against the judgement.

What differentiates the cases of Böhmermann and Bachmann? Should freedom of expression be a fundamental principle, which also applies to statements we abhor, or, are we obliged to suppress “hate speech” in order to, for example, protect vulnerable minorities?

The question of to which extent free expression may be practised is one which affects the core values of a free, liberal society and which is becoming ever more urgent in these troubled times. Therefore, we invite you to return to our former live streaming page, where a full audio recording is available, and/or to enjoy the video highlights of this debate at the top of the page.

Speakers:

Sabine Beppler-Spahl – Economist and Freiblickinstitut Chairwoman

Agota Revesz – Postdoctoral Researcher, Freie Universität Berlin

Kolja Zydatiss – Psychologist and Novo Argumente Editor

Event series:

This debate took place with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens Programme and was one debate of many taking place as part of an international series of debates on the same theme in cities around Europe, including Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, London, Sofia and Warsaw.

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Free speech now? Wie viel Meinungsfreiheit können wir tolerieren?

Um 19:00 CET am 8. Juli 2016, lud der Berliner Salon des Freiblickinstituts herzlich ein, an einer Debatte über die Grenzen der Meinungsfreiheit teilzunehmen.

Videohighlights des Abends finden sie hier auf der Seite und es gibt auch eine Audioaufnahme dieser Debatte in voller Länge auf der ehemaligen Livestreamseite.

Thema / Redner / Ort / Video / Verwandte Artikel

Über die Debatte:

Das Schmähgedicht von Jan Böhmermann war Auslöser einer erneuten Debatte über das freie Wort. Meinungsfreiheit ist zwar im Grundgesetz geschützt, doch selbst im liberalen Deutschland nicht grenzenlos. Als Pegida-Gründer Lutz Bachmann vor wenigen Wochen wegen fremdenfeindlicher Äußerungen zu einer Geldstrafe verurteilt wurde, protestierten nur seine Anhänger.

Was unterscheidet den Fall Böhmermann von dem Fall Bachmann? Sollte die Meinungsfreiheit ein grundlegendes Prinzip sein, das auch für Äußerungen gilt, die wir verabscheuen? Oder ist es unsere Pflicht, die „Hassrede“ zu unterbinden, um z.B. Minderheiten zu schützen?

Die Frage, wie weit das freie Wort gehen darf, wird in unseren unruhigen Zeiten dringlicher. Es geht um die Grundwerte einer freiheitlichen, liberalen Gesellschaft. Daher laden wir sie ein, unsere Livestreamseite nochmals zu besuchen, wo es schon eine Audioaufnahme des Abends in voller Länge zu horen gibt, sowie Highlights der Debatte hier auf der Seite sich anzuschauen.

Redner:

Sabine Beppler-Spahl – Dipl.- Volkswirtin und Vorsitzende Freiblickinstitut

Agota Revesz – ehemalige Diplomatin und promovierte Forscherin, Freie Universität Berlin

Kolja Zydatiss – Psychologe und Redakteur bei Novo Argumente

Veranstaltungsreihe:

Diese Veranstaltung wurde kofinanziert durch das Programm „Europa für Bürgerinnen und Bürger“ der Europäischen Union und fand als Teil einer internationalen Reihe von Debatten in Mitarbeit mit europäischen Zentren in Barcelona, Bratislava, Brüssel, London, Sofia und Warschau statt.

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Location / Standort:

Café Manstein, Mansteinstraße 4, 10783 Berlin

Related articles:

A student union banning an offensive “free speech” magazine is not censorship by Hannah Cronin 

Art and the Law: Guides to the legal framework and its impact on artistic freedom of expression from Index on Censorship 

Art or vandalism? by Yasmine El Rashidi 

Beyond a joke: seven countries where it’s a criminal offence to insult a head of state by Joanna Gill 

Can a book be too dangerous for the public? by Sebastian Huempfer 

Comparative hate speech law from The University of Oxford 

Conference report: taking the offensive – defending artistic freedom of expression in the UK from Index on Censorship 

Council of Europe official: say “no” to hate speech A EurActiv.com interview with Snežana Samardžić-Marković, director general of democracy for the Council of Europe 

Damage control by Jennifer Granick 

Don’t be so offensive. Young westerners are less keen than their parents on free speech from The Economist 

Don’t just click – speak out for free speech by Jodie Ginsberg 

Europe and free speech: a race to the bottom? by Jacob McHangama 

Free speech can be offensive. Lebanon should get over it by Halim Shebaya 

Free speech, even when grossly offensive, has to be defended by Roy Greenslade 

Germany: a positive environment for free expression clouded by surveillance from Index on Censorship 

Germany springs to action over hate speech against migrants by Anthony Faiola 

Germany Turkey: satire row stirs free speech fears by Damien McGuinness 

Hate speech from Article 19 

Oxford University Student Union bans free speech magazine because it is “offensive” by Helena Horton 

In free speech, a line between offputting and illegal from The New York Times 

Prohibiting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence from Article 19 

Redskins and other troubling trademarks from The New York Times 

Religion and free speech: it’s complicated from Index on Censorship 

Scotland’s free-speech opponents remain as hypocritical as they are illiberal. Shame on them by Alex Massie 

Should Hitler’s Mein Kampf be republished? by Sascha Feuchert and Charlotte Knobloch 

Speech offences from Liberty 

The Brandenburg test for incitement to violence by Jeff Howard 

The case against hate speech bans by Eric Heinze 

The harm of hate speech by Jeremy Waldron 

The state response to “hate crimes” in Germany A Human Rights Watch briefing paper 

The war on free speech and free thinking in Scotland and the UK by Gerry Hassan 

When is speech dangerous? by Jonathan Leader Maynard 

Words and deeds by Flemming Rose 

Words and deeds. Incitement, hate speech & the right to free expression from Index on Censorship