Free Speech Debate

The ‘Free Speech Debate’ is a website that explores the notion of freedom of expression; encouraging free speech but also understanding and investigating the need for limitations and regulation at times. It is part of a research project for the University of Oxford. The ‘Free Speech Debate’ revolves around ten principles; lifeblood, violence, knowledge, journalism, diversity, religion, privacy, secrecy, icebergs and courage. Each principle comes with a short explanation, and is then explored and unpacked through various voices and mediums posted on the website. It has created a space for debate where free speech experts, lawyers, political theorists, theologians, philosophers, activists and journalists from around the world can discuss the issues surrounding free speech. New voices are constantly showcased on this website from a wide range of place, expressing a wide range of viewpoints. Content comes in many different forms, such as video, podcast and text. The website also provides the opportunity for users to get involved, so you can have your say on any given topic. The ‘Free Speech Debate’ is a really interesting website that you could probably spend hours exploring. It highlights a lot of interesting points that really get you thinking about the notion of ‘free speech’ and how society should best approach this concept.



  1. I think, any student on this module can go back to this link! Thank you, it is very helpful. During this semester especially; I am a PR student but most of my modules focus on journalism at the moment. We also study about how good arguments are built up in a debate, and there are very helpful related things on the website you linked us to. It sets a good example of a strong debate using a commonly debated topic. Thus, I believe, we can turn to this website for help for many different tasks.


  2. I really appreciate that this site is accessible in several different languages, as it gives many (if not most users) the opportunity to visit the site, understand the content, and use that content to contemplate what is happening in their own lives. I also think that a lot of the essays and articles on this site would be of interest to me even if I weren’t a media student! The article discussing whether or not certain books can be “too dangerous”, for example, was really thought provoking.

    However, while users are able to discuss their thoughts in the comments section of each article, I wish there was some sort of official discussion board or forum on which users could think up and debate their own relevant topics. Something like this would certainly raise some interesting questions, at the very least – do you let users post anything they want on that forum or elect someone to moderate (and, essentially, censor) the discussions? Ideas surrounding free speech could be explored even more in depth!


  3. This project sounds extremely interesting, also it will be intriguing to see what people will say, knowing that they have been given the platform of ‘freedom of speech’. However I think it will be more interesting if there wasn’t limitations on what people can say for this project because then it really allow you to see their true opinions and how strongly they feel abut it, rather than a ‘watered down version’.


  4. I was already aware of this website as my PR & Advertising lecturers shared with us PR students this source. As you said it is really nice and mind-opening as it covers different ethical areas and in this way people can compare their own ideas with other people’s ideas and change/develop them. Moreover, Free Debate Speech can offer students (and yes, even us Media students) a broad range of sources for essays and academical works, so it is a considerable source of proper academic material.


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