Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World

Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, Oxford

In this keynote lecture, leading political writer Timothy Garton Ash presents his ten guiding principles for a connected world, and offer a manifesto for global free speech in the digital age.

Drawing on a lifetime of writing about dictatorships and dissidents, Oxford Professor of European Studies Timothy Garton Ash argues that we are currently experiencing an unprecedented era in human history for freedom of expression.

Professor Garton Ash shows how the world we live in today is one of almost saturation access to the internet and ownership of smartphones, and thereby, one in which “everyone is tangentially neighbours with everyone else”.

It is this interconnected world that presents us with a multitude of opportunities and dangers, from instant access to the sum of human knowledge to fatwas and violent intimidation, or what Professor Garton Ash termed “the assassin’s veto”, whereby people’s lives are threatened on a daily basis for exercising their right to free expression.

Professor Garton Ash argues that the way to combine freedom and diversity is to have more but also better free speech. Across all cultural divides, we must strive to agree on how we disagree.

Drawing on a unique, thirteen-language global conversation and online research project, freespeechdebate.com, alongside his latest book, Free Speech, he presents his ten principles for a connected world, and invites his audience to contribute to the debate about how we live together according to the principle of "robust civility" in the digital age.