Freedom of Expression Series
By JEP editor Andy Sibcy
HOW free are you to say what you think in the way that you want to express it? Is freedom of expression under threat and, if so, from where? Should there be limits to this freedom and, if so, where should the line or lines be drawn? Or do you think that those with challenging or extreme views which offend mainstream opinion, or at least the vocal majority, should be censored?
Over the next week, the JEP will be exploring these crucial questions and many more, and, as part of a special series focusing on freedom of expression, asking readers to reflect on whether we are comfortable with the way things are.
As an editor, I routinely have to defend the newspaper's right to publish, whether to champion open justice and the right to report legal proceedings, to defend the rights of those who wish to express an opinion or to argue for your right to know what is happening in this Island.
There is little doubt, in my mind at least, that this freedom is under attack from many quarters. On 30 September, I will be chairing a Question Time-style panel discussion about freedom of expression at the Opera House as part of the Jersey Festival of Words 2016.
The evening will begin with a talk by Mick Hume, a polemicist and former Times journalist whose book 'Trigger Warning: Is the fear of being offensive killing free speech?' argues that a creeping culture of 'you-can't say-that' conformity is driving a type of self-censorship which too many are guilty of. Recent stories about censorship on university campuses, not to mention the outrage regularly expressed on social media when someone is deemed to have said something they should not have, seems to support his thesis.
Over the next seven days, articles will be published written by the panellists – Mr Hume, Times journalist Simon de Bruxelles, Guardian writer Oliver Bullough, whose article 'The Fall of Jersey: How a tax haven goes bust' was published by the national newspaper in December, Claire de Than, an academic lawyer, writer, media-law specialist and Jersey Law Commissioner, and JEP columnists Bram Wanrooij and Dr Gavin Ashenden. A further article will be published by Kat Banyard, an author and activist against sexual inequality who is speaking at the festival about her book on the porn industry.
I hope that many of you who read these pieces will enjoy the articles, engage with the issues and join the debate online at jerseyeveningpost.com, on our Facebook page and on the letters pages.
I also hope that you will come to listen to what should be a lively debate on 30 September. More details are available about the event, which is being organised in partnership with the JEP, at jerseyfestivalofwords.org.
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