Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship

Professor Eric Heinze, Professor of Law and Humanities, Queen Mary University London
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Wolfson College
Linton Road
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Lectures and seminars
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Most modern democracies punish hate speech. Less freedom for some, they claim, guarantees greater freedom for others. But that view confuses democracy with liberalism, as if the two assume identical norms in principle, or entail the same results in practice. It also assumes a misleadingly ahistorical model of democracy.

In this Max Watson memorial lecture, Eric Heinze from Queen Mary University London will argue that modern democracies have better ways of combating violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups without having to censor speakers. The lecture will show why free expression must be safeguarded not primarily as an individual (‘liberal’) right, but as an essential attribute of democratic citizenship.

Professor Eric Heinze is Professor of Law and Humanities at Queen Mary University London. He has worked with the International Commission of Jurists and UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, and on private litigation before the United Nations Administrative Tribunal in New York. He is a member of the Bars of New York and Massachusetts, and has also advised NGOs on human rights, including Liberty, Amnesty International and the Media Diversity Institute.