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FREE SPEECH 54: Free Speech (or Lack Thereof?) Around the World, with Adrienne Stone

 "A constitutional right of protection of a right of freedom of expression frames a right of political discussion and public discourse that supports democracy."

Then how can different democracies define this right differently? In many democracies the lines around speech are drawn differently — in the US they are drawn to protect hate speech but not child pornography, political speech but not defamation. In other democracies, denial of the Holocaust or incitement of racial hatred is not protected by the state.

I spoke with Adrienne Stone, one of the world's experts on these different approaches to speech as a social good. Dr. Stone is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at the University of Melbourne in Australia

With Cheryl Saunders AO she is the editor of the Oxford Handbook on the Australian Constitution and with Frederick Schauer (who has been a guest on Think About It), she is the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech.

She has published widely in international journals on topics related to speech, constitutionalism, and democracy, including: 

  1. The Comparative Constitutional Law of Freedom of Expression

  2. Constitutions, Gender and Freedom of Expression: The Legal Regulation of Pornography;

  3. Freedom of Speech and Defamation: Developments in the Common Law World; 

  4. 'Insult and Emotion, Calumny and Invective': Twenty Years of Freedom of Political Communication

I asked Dr. Stone, being quite serious, whether Australians feel muzzled and deprived of their fundamental rights because certain types of hate speech are not protected in Australia - and how to make sense of these different approaches to the problems posed by incendiary speech.