Freedom of Expression and Human Rights

Freedom of Expression and Human Rights
23 February 2022, 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Online- via Zoom

This session will explore the environment for the protection of freedom of expression in today’s unsettled world. It will identify the diverse and complex range of contemporary challenges to the realisation of freedom of expression, relevant international normative frameworks, and the key international human rights bodies engaged in its protection. It will spotlight the critical role played by an ecosystem of civil society organisations in the understanding, generation, and application of freedom of expression norms.  
The session will also examine freedom of expression in the context of environmental protests and policing in the UK. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr Sejal Parmar (School of Law, University of Sheffield)

Dr Andrea Brock (University of Sussex)  ‘Protest Policing, Environmental Justice and HS2’ 

In her talk, Andrea will be speaking about some of her work on policing and ecocide. Policing, she argues, is integral to ecocide and environmental injustice. While some environmental defenders have long worked with abolitionists and pointed to the entanglement of policing, prison and pollution on the ground, few social scientists have spoken out to critique these links. Yet, policing – as a logic and set of technologies and practices – not only facilitates ecologically disastrous projects, but enforces a social order rooted in the ‘securing’ of property, hierarchy, and human-nature exploitation. Its colonial roots continue to be evident in the racialised nature of policing and ecocide (see Brock and Stephens-Griffin, 2021, and forthcoming edited volume with Dunlap). Self-policing is integral to policing, and policing ecocide would not work without self-policing – by “activists” as much as academics. As social scientists, she argues, we must challenge the assumed necessity of policing, overcome the mythology of the state as ‘arbiter of justice’, and work to create social conditions in which policing is unnecessary. But speaking out posses a couple of dilemmas for social scientists too – about the role of critique of policing (and criminalisation), the labelling as ‘activist academics’ and building careers on the back of real world struggles.

2021-22 Open for Discussion Series

Freedom of Speech and academic freedoms have attracted renewed public and political interest. Debates often emphasise the importance of freedom of speech to democracy and democratic freedoms, while international organisations continue to monitor censorship and the free press across the world. Key questions continue to exercise scholars, politicians, the press and the public: should there be limits to freedom of speech? How should freedom of speech be recognised in the law? What are the implications for freedom of speech posed by new technologies and digital platforms? What are the barriers to having multiple voices heard, respected and acknowledged, now and in the past? How do we have open debates in polemical times?  

Speaking Freely is an events series that explores the legal, cultural and historical dimensions of these questions, both within the UK and internationally. The series brings together experts from across the world and from different sectors to debate and discuss these critical issues.

All welcome, but advanced registration is required.

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.


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