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Free Speech and Censorship around the Globe

Edited by Péter Molnár

NEW: Interview with the editor on Cafébabel. Part 1 and 2.

Watch a short video with Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and Péter Molnár, editor

“Freedom of speech is a universal right. This book discusses the understanding and implementation of this right in all continents, instead of the typical focus on the countries whose free speech jurisprudence is best known. Following his globally comparative co-edited book on “hate speech,” Peter Molnar stimulates a new conversation on a wide variety of speech protections and restrictions, with an exceptionally diverse range of viewpoints from many countries. This book is the ticket for an exciting free speech journey around the world.” —Nadine Strossen, Professor, New York Law School, Former President, American Civil Liberties Union (1991–2008)

“Peter Molnar has put together another extremely informative and wide ranging collection of essays, covering many countries and themes. A notable one is the spread of access to information, pioneered in countries beyond the traditional West. This is altogether a most valuable resource.”—Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

“A comprehensive and valuable collection of fascinating articles on the importance and limits of free speech. It concentrates both on individual countries and their common problems, and takes account of the challenges posed by new technological advances. A most welcome and timely addition to the literature on the subject.”—Bhikhu Parekh, University of Westminster and House of Lords

Péter Molnár has taught at CEU since 2007, and also taught at: Journalism School at UC Berkeley, Cardozo School of Law and Columbia Law School. He co-edited The Content and Context of Hate Speech – Rethinking Regulation and Responses (Cambridge University Press, 2012). He was member of Hungarian Parliament (1990–1998), of Hungarian Radio-Television Board`s Complaint Commission (2001–2010), and of European Citizen Initiative for Media Pluralism`s Citizens Committee. He co-drafted the Initiative`s proposal, and the 1996 Hungarian media law, and drafted the Budapest Declaration for Free Speech on the Internet. He was legislative advisor, Fulbright Fellow, and Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University. In 1989, he accepted Rafto Prize for human rights for Fidesz, and for Rafto Foundation, he “represents the liberal spirit that was awarded.” The play from his novel, Searchers, won best alternative and independent play awards in Hungary. He responds to “hate speech” in a number of ways, including his radio show on Radio Tilos (Radio Forbidden); his slam poetry in Bergen, Budapest, New York and Oslo; and as director and an actor of the “Hate Speech” Monologues at CEU.

Free Speech and Censorship around the Globe contains stories about how imagination and rational thinking in wildly different cultures capture, imagine, and conceptualize what freedom of speech means. This book treats the reader not as a tourist, but as a traveler. It does not stop at every famous tourist site that have been the most visited. Instead, it goes up many side streets. It provides an opportunity for curious people who would like to understand whether free speech can be contextual to take a journey of exploration. It draws a map of the concepts and contexts of free speech in the second decade of the 21st century.

1989 and 2011 are only two recent turning points when freedom of speech and freedom of the press emerged, or at least powerful efforts were made to support their emergence, although disheartening backlashes followed in several countries. The book also tells many other free speech narratives that emerged, or evolved outside the frames of 1989 and 2011, also with several troublesome repercussions. Reborn restrictions to free speech—as have taken place, for example, in some Central European and East European countries, such as the backlash in Hungary that received broad international attention—make the critical assessments presented in this volume especially timely. Comparative studies must help to avoid such backwards steps and to create enabling environments needed by any culture in order to develop and sustain the spirit and practices of freedom of speech.


John Shattuck : Foreword
Péter Molnár: Introduction


Monroe Price: 1989, 2011, and Strategic Narratives

Four Dangers for Freedom of Expression and the Internet: An Interview with Frank La Rue by Péter Molnár

Freedom of Speech in the OSCE Countries: An Interview with Dunja Mijatović by Péter Molnár

Miklós Haraszti: Revisiting the Three Europes: Diverging Landscapes of Media Freedom

Dirk Voorhoof: Freedom of Expression, Media and Journalism under the European Human Rights System: Characteristics, Developments, and Challenges

Catalina Botero Marino: Jurisprudential Advances and Persistent Challenges for Freedom of Expression in the Americas

Toby Mendel: The Right to Information in Latin America

Freedom of Speech and Access to Information in Africa: An Interview with Pansy Tlakula by Péter Molnár

Helen Darbishire: A Right Emerges: The History of the Right of Access to Information and Its Link with Freedom of Expression

Sandra Coliver: The Right to Information and the Expanding Scope of Bodies Covered by National Laws since 1989

Sejal Parmar: The Rabat Plan of Action: A Critical Turning Point in International Law on Hate Speech

Bernard Rorke: Free to Hate? Anti-Gypsyism in 21st-Century Europe


Josep Maria Carbonell and Joan Barata Mir: The Role of the Mass Media in the Spanish Transition to Democracy and Its Subsequent Consolidation .

Andrei Richter: Russia’s Supreme Court as Media Freedom Protector

Ezra Chiloba: Access to Information in Kenya: The Law and Practice Since 1991

Yared Legesse Mengistu: Freedom of Expression in Ferment: A Cursory Look at the Ethiopian Media Regime

Gilbert T. Andres: Philippines: Expanding the Contours of Free Speech in an Environment of Impunity against Journalists . . . . . . .

Rhonda Breit: The Fragile Complexity of Protecting Freedom of Speech in Australia 359

Mei Ning Yan: The Impact of New Media on Freedom of Expression in China and the Regulatory Responses

Sunil Abraham: Eavesdropping on the Freedom of Expression in India

Zeynep Alemdar: The “Turkish Model” of Freedom of Speech

Brenda F. Abdelall: Forging Ahead: A Contemporary Review of Egyptian Press and Media Laws

Abderrahim Chalfaouat: Media, Freedom of Expression and Democratization in Morocco

Richard N. Winfield and Janine Tien: The Danish Cartoons Controversy: Hate Speech Laws and Unintended Consequences

Asma T. Uddin: The UN Defamation of Religions Resolution and Domestic Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan: Creating a Culture of Impunity

Jeroen Temperman: A Right to Be Free from Religious Hatred? The Wilders Case in the Netherlands and Beyond

List of Contributors
Name Index
Subject Index



562 pages, cloth
$60.00 / €45.00 / £38.00