Explore the development of free speech in Free Speech Bites a series of podcasts produced by Index in association with SAGE.
In each episode, celebrated philosophy writer Nigel Warburton (Philosophy Bites) and guests explore the concept, why it matters and highlight individuals who advanced the idea of freedom of thought
Free Speech Bites podcasts:
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Novelist Ma Jian, a veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests, talks to Nigel Warburton about political and artistic freedom in China.
Ma Jian is a former winner of an Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award. His latest novel, The Dark Road, is out now.
Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, and a noted author and commentator. Here he tells Nigel Warburton about his Free Speech Debate project, a forum for discussing global free speech standards in the digital age
Denis MacShane is a politician and journalist. Previously a BBC reporter, he was Labour MP for Rotheram from 1994 until 2012, when he resigned after controversy over expense claims.
Here, he talks to Nigel Warburton about the legacy of Enligtenment philosopher Tom Paine, author of The Rights of Man. McShane also looks at the limits of free speech in the modern era.
Natalia Kaliada is co-founder of the Belarus Free Theatre. The group, formed in 2005, performs provocative political works in a country where it can be lethal to criticise the dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Natalia was forced into exile after the brutal crackdown on Belarus’s opposition after the rigged 2010 presidential elections. Here she speaks to Nigel Warburton about the difficulty of creating art in Europe’s last dictatorship
Martin Rowson is an award-winning cartoonist, writer and satirist in the tradition of Swift and Gillray. Here he talks to Nigel Warburton about humour, satire and offence saying:
I think there are people crying out to be offended by things
Self-described “Muslim refusenik” Irshad Manji campaigns for reform in Islam. Here the feminist author and activist thrashes out the clashes between religion and free speech with Nigel Warburton
Zarganar spent years in solitary confinement for satirising Burma’s ruling military junta. The Burmese poet, comic and musician talks to Nigel Warburton about the importance of thinking and speaking freely, even under tyranny.
Writer Stephanie Merritt explains why renaissance astronomer, mathematician and heretic Giordano Bruno inspired her bestselling “SJ Parris” series. A free speech martyr, Bruno was burned at the stake for challenging the church.
Broadcaster and writer Jonathan Dimbleby is also a former Chair of the Index on Censorship board of trustees. In the opening episode of Free Speech Bites, he explains to Nigel Warburton why free speech matters, and the philosophy of John Stuart Mill, whose On Liberty is one of the greatest arguments against censorship.