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Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Linton Rd, Oxford OX2 6UD

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 - 5:00pm


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 will present 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 will argue that we are currently experiencing an unprecedented era in human history for freedom of expression.

If we have internet access, any one of us can publish almost anything we like, potentially reaching an audience of millions. Never was there a time when the evils of unlimited speech flowed so easily across frontiers: violent intimidation, gross violations of privacy, tidal waves of abuse. A pastor burns a Koran in Florida and UN officials die in Afghanistan.

In this connected world that he calls cosmopolis, 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.

Professor Garton Ash will draw on a unique, thirteen-language global conversation and online research project,, alongside his latest book, Free Speech, to present his ten principles for a connected world.

He will illustrate his talk with vivid examples from his personal experience of China's Orwellian censorship apparatus, to the controversy around Charlie Hebdo, to a very English court case involving food writer Nigella Lawson, and propose a framework for civilized conflict in a world in which we are all becoming neighbours.

Download and listen to Timothy Garton Ash's free speech podcasts on the BBC

Timothy Garton Ash is Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford; Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Guardian. He is the winner of the 2017 Charlemagne Prize and has won the Orwell Prize for Journalism.