Free speech and tolerance: enemies or allies? An examination of American vs. European approaches to free speech
Despite sharing a commitment to liberal democracy American and European attitudes differ sharply on freedom of expression. As oppossed to America's First Amendment European conceptions of free speech co-exists with so-called hate speech laws criminalising hateful or derogatory expressions targeted at specific groups. The question of the limits to free speech has become all the more relevant in a globalized world where cartoons or videos produced in one country may inspire violent reactions in countries far away with serious repercussions for international relations. Jacob Mchangama discusses the merits of different approaches to free speech and argues thatfree speech is the precondition for tolerance in diverse societies as well as for peaceful international relations in a globalized world.
About Jacob Mchangama
Jacob Mchangama is a human rights lawyer specialized in civil and political rights including a special emphasis on freedom of expression. Through his work at the independent think tank CEPOS in Copenhagen Jacob has managed to increase the Danish public’s focus on basic freedoms whether in relation to anti-terrorism, freedom of expression and the protection of private property and his work is credited with contributing to the defeat of several bills and influencing the amendment of laws. He has been appointed as an expert witness at parliamentary hearings at the Danish parliament Folketinget. In 2010 Jacob co-founded the Copenhagen based network Fri Debat, for which he acts as spokesperson, committed to the protection of freedom of expression.
In 2010 Jacob was named the most influential Danish public intellectual under the age of 40 - and the 9th most influential Danish Public intellectual overall - by Danish newspaper Politiken.