Jacob Mchangama - The West’s Attack on Free Speech





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Published on Jun 13, 2011

Audio: English
Captions: Español

Jacob Mchangama speaks at Oslo Freedom Forum 2011
The West’s Attack on Free Speech


Jacob Mchangama, a human rights lawyer specializing in civil and political rights, puts forth a compelling case for protecting hate speech. Freedom of expression can be curtailed both to prevent democracy and protect it. Yet censorship with noble intentions is still censorship. In the words of George Orwell, "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." People cannot be stripped of the ability to say what is offensive—it is vital to a democratic society. Today, the censorship of hate speech is often viewed as a tool for protecting human rights. Mchangama exposes the roots of this point of view, pointing out that it was the Soviets who won the debate over Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights while the West was opposed. Currently, the U.S. is the only country in the West that protects hate speech, and its policies have not instigated a rise in racism. In fact, the percentage of the population supporting interracial marriage has risen from 4% in 1958 to 80% today. Evidently, the protection of hate speech does not create divides between groups, but rather fosters a culture of greater tolerance and understanding.


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