Is Free Speech Under Threat?

Is Free Speech Under Threat?

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Summary

One big question. Two great answers.

In Is Free Speech Under Threat? two leading thinkers tackle the issue at the very heart of the culture wars.

Suzanne Nossel (CEO of PEN America) puts the case that even though there is an important rebalancing of power taking place in society today, rightly giving minority voices the space and prominence they have long been owed, even so the uncompromising intolerance of a left-leaning minority crosses the threshold of an important principle on which free speech relies. In the process, they play into the hands of outright censors, further harming free speech.

Charlotte Lydia Riley (editor of THE FREE SPEECH WARS) argues that the right to free speech has always been enjoyed by the powerful and denied to the powerless. Accusations of cancel culture and defences of free speech are attempts to fuel a culture war and so inhibit an important progressive realignment in which the right to say hateful, offensive and harmful things is at last being called out for what it is.

The THINK AGAIN series presents short books that address the big, divisive questions of our times in a uniquely constructive way: two expert, contrasting and equally persuasive views in a single volume that can be read from either end.

Published in conjunction with Intelligence Squared, the world’s leading curator of debate.

About the authors

Charlotte Lydia Riley

Charlotte Lydia Riley is a historian of twentieth-century Britain at the University of Southampton, specialising in questions about empire, politics, culture and identity. She is editor of The Free Speech Wars and author of Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain. Her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications including the Guardian, New Statesman, Financial Times, Washington Post and History Today. She tweets @lottelydia.
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Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel is the CEO of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organisation, and is a key voice on free expression issues in the United States and globally. During the first term of the Obama administration, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisations, where she led U.S. engagement in the United Nations on human rights and humanitarian issues. She is the author of Dare To Speak: Defending Free Speech For All and writes for publications that include the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Guardian, TIME, Washington Post and more. She is a member of the Meta Oversight Board and the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Intelligence Squared

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