HAT Forum Sat Sept 29, OISE "Freedom of Expression"

DATE:  Sat Sept 29, 11am -1 pm
Location:  OISE, 242 Bloor Street West
TOPIC:  Freedom of expression
FACILTATOR:  Jodi Perrin

The essence of freedom of expression, of course, is not the right to insult the beliefs of others, but rather the freedom to report or convey facts, opinions, philosophies, and worldviews in an effective manner, using both objective and subjective means. Freedom of expression empowers citizens through knowledge, opinion, and the possibility to gain their own voice. Within democracies, free expression allows citizens to challenge political leaders, journalists to uncover information for the public, and the public to ensure the accountability of their government. Without the principles of a free media and free speech, there could be no self-government.
         What are some reasons freedom of speech and expression are valued so highly in our culture?
         What are some of the limitations that we have placed on the right of free speech currently and in the past?
         How can we make distinctions between virulent hate speech and  bullying or insulting speech and what consequences might be applied?
         How could we move forward and perhaps look at ways to discourage hateful and negative activity that offends many world citizens?