Canterbury Christ Church to Hold ‘Freedom of Expression’ Debate

The debate will seek to explore the principles behind freedom of expression. Picture courtesy of

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, Canterbury Christ Church University will host a public discussion on the freedom of speech and expression on 3 February, 2015.

The discussion will cover the reasons for freedom and expression and the importance of it in a democratic society. The discussion was arranged a few weeks ago, but with the recent attacks still fresh in the public’s mind, it seems more appropriate to hold it now, less than a month after the vicious assassinations. It gives the public the chance to explore what freedom of expression truly means in a society where it is possible to be targeted for saying the wrong thing.

One of the major guests for the debate will include Onara Sylvia O’Neill, whose many titles cover a range from her aristocratic title Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, to the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She was also the founding President of the British Philosophical Association. Another influential figure attending will be Mark Hammond, Visiting Professor of Public Administration and Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Within the last couple of weeks, the Charlie Hebdo headquarters were attacked by terrorists, who ransacked the offices and assassinated leading editors and artists. This was sparked by one of Charlie Hebdo’s front covers, which depicted the Prophet Muhammad kissing a man.

The magazine is a left-wing, satirical production that often satirised other cultures and religions to make a statement. A couple of days after the offices were attacked, a lone gunman who was connected with the terrorists ran into a kosher supermarket and created a hostage situation, killing several shoppers at the Jewish store.

Since then, European countries have increased their security threat levels, as the likelihood of another take on the scale of Charlie Hebdo appears imminent. There were recent attempted terrorist attacks in Belgium, that were going to attack places that sold the next issue of Charlie Hebdo, which were luckily thwarted in time.

The lecture, which will commence on 3 February at 6pm, is free admission and is open for all. It will take place at Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church University, CT1 1QU, and tickets can be booked here.


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