When Free Speech Becomes Hate Speech

July 30, 2019

As the recent furor surrounding British comedian Jo Brand’s comments on the BBC Radio 4 Heresy program attest, there is very little clarity about what does — and, importantly, what does not — constitute hate speech. In what was clearly a joke, Brand asked why anyone would bother throwing a...

8chan: Where the Appalling Becomes Appealing

July 18, 2019

8chan is one of the most notorious message boards on the internet. Its contents include subjects ranging from extremist political ideas to extreme pornography. Unsurprisingly, it stands by the slogan “Embrace Infamy.” Visitors receive an equally intriguing salutation: “Welcome to 8chan, the...

The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: Looking at “Free Will”

August 06, 2018

The Greeks saw hubris as a failing. Yuval Noah Harari sees it as the future of humanity, finally able to make the investments required for becoming the godhead. The media have invented effective formulas for attracting their public’s coveted (and monetizable) attention. They like nothing...

The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: “Free Speech” and Education

March 14, 2018

Neil deGrasse Tyson identifies the reasons behind the flat-Earth movement. Science media guru Neil deGrasse Tyson has identified the two contributing factors to the otherwise incomprehensible persistence in the United States of belief in the idea that the Earth is flat. The first is “we live...

Moroccan Artist Has a Bad Rap With Authorities

October 17, 2015

Officials have repeatedly prevented rapper Mouad “El Haqed” Belghouat from performing in Morocco. Generally speaking, Arabic hip hop comes in two categories. There are rappers in the Gulf who like to brag about how great it is to be really, really rich. Then there are artists in places like...

The World This Week: Threats to Freedom From Bangladesh to Mexico

August 08, 2015

The liberty of belief and expression is a fundamental right that is under increasing threat in countries like Bangladesh and Mexico. On St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572, Catholics slaughtered Huguenots in Paris. Soon, the killings spread across France. Historians continue to debate as to who...

The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and Its Cultural Consequences

July 30, 2014

Do South Africa’s new laws on censorship constitute a major departure from the Apartheid era? Undoubtedly the most peculiar feature of the repressive system the Nationalist government set up in 1963 is that it put an inordinate, if not wholly unlimited, amount of power in the hands of a group...

The Politics of Bans: Limiting the Freedom of Speech in India

May 29, 2014

Banning books in India is a delicate game of community politics. When it comes to banning books, India is a front-runner in the democratic world. Add to it the long list of films, plays and exhibitions, which could not be produced or shown due to protests from some group, the restrictions placed...

Filming on the Fringe

August 18, 2013

Two female filmmakers from Yemen and Saudi Arabia are using film to fight for change. In the midst of a nascent film industry, a handful of female filmmakers have emerged in the Arabian Peninsula, pioneering film in the region and using it as a tool to fight for change. Saudi Arabia and Yemen both...

The Allegory of the Sentimentally Hurt Liberals

May 30, 2013

Ran Chakrabarti imagines a dispute over freedom of speech of a slightly different sort. Free speech is under attack. Nowhere more so than in India, where draconian laws permit arrests and criminal charges against those who hurt the sentiments of others.  Under Section 66A of India’s...

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