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Freedom of Expression Must Include the License to Offend [electronic resource]: Debate

Intelligence Squared
Video; Computer Resource; Online Video; Online
As valued as it is, the principle of free speech through which everyone can have their say is an especially slippery slope as populations grow more pluralistic and the desire to get along creates pressure to curtail any expression that may potentially insult some portion of the people. Must freedom of expression include the license to offend? That is the question in this Oxford Union-style debate as panelists make their case. Speakers for the motion bring up the pernicious effects of censorship, the suppression of healthy debate, and repressiveness that can lead to authoritarianism, while those against speak of freedom of speech as a means to an end rooted in a particular place and time rather than as an ideal and stress the value to society of outlawing expression such as child pornography. Questions from the floor follow. The final vote? Significantly for. BBC One O'Clock News presenter Anna Ford presides.
Release Date
Run Time
109 min.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on Nov. 06, 2009.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
Variant Title
  • Kenan Malik: Offence and Danish Cartoons (7:53)
  • David Cesarani: Weakness & Power (10:29)
  • Lisa Appignanesi: Banned Books (10:31)
  • Francesca Klug: Expression vs. Denigration (8:45)
  • Alain Finkielkraut: Accepting Offence in the Interest of Freedom (10:41)
  • Tariq Ramadan: Rights vs. Responsibility (14:06)
  • Initial Vote: 434 in Favor of the Motion that Freedom of Expression Must Include the License to Offend (1:29)
  • Q & A: Double Standards, Historical Context, and Respect for Difference (5:58)
  • Q & A: Faith Schools (3:47)
  • Response from Panelist: Human Rights and Enforced Regulation (1:54)
  • Audience Questions (3:06)
  • Question: Danish Cartoons, Abu Ghraib, and the Holocaust (3:45)
  • Tariq Ramadan on Cultural Change (3:33)
  • Alain Finkielkraut, Kenan Malik, and Francesca Klug on the Global Village (4:35)
  • Summation: Tariq Ramadan (2:13)
  • Summation: Alain Finkielkraut (1:57)
  • Summation: Francesca Klug (1:08)
  • Summation: Lisa Appignanesi (2:04)
  • Summation: David Cesarani (2:59)
  • Summation: Kenan Malik (2:26)
  • Final Vote: 534 in Favor of the Motion that Freedom of Expression Must Include the License to Offend (0:56)
New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2009], c2006.
Publisher no.
40531 Films Media Group
Access Restriction
Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.
1 streaming video file (109 min.) : sd., col., digital file.
Mode of access: Internet.
System requirements: FOD playback platform.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
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