Global Freedom of Speech

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


It has been suggested that the multicultural nature of modern liberal states (in particular the formation of immigration minorities from other cultures due to the process of globalisation) provides reasons - from a liberal egalitarian perspective - for recognising a civic or democratic norm, as opposed to a legal norm, that curbs exercises of the right to free speech that offend the feelings or beliefs of members from other cultural groups. The paper rejects the suggestion that acceptance of such a norm is in line with liberal egalitarian thinking. Following a review of the classical liberal egalitarian reasons for free speech - reasons from overall welfare, from autonomy and from respect for the equality of citizens - it is argued that these reasons outweigh the proposed reasons for curbing culturally offensive speech. Currently controversial cases such as that of the Danish Cartoon Controversy are used as illustrations.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)403-418
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1. Dec 2007


  • free speech, freedom of speech, multiculturalism, civic norms, democratic norms, offence


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