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"Freedom of Expression" was the closing session of the ninth Brandeis Institute for International Judges, held July 28-31 2013 in nearby Lund, Sweden, in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Lund University Faculty of Law.

More about the 2013 Brandeis Institute for International Judges here.

Freedom of Expression: A public conversation in Malmö, Sweden

July 31, 2013

Freedom of expression is complex in a world in which speech has played a prominent part in inciting violence. The Center hosted a public event on July 31 in Malmö, Sweden discussing those complexities. Held in conjunction with the Center's ninth Brandeis Institute for International Judges, the evening featured a human rights law scholar, a philosopher, and a journalist considering from their perspectives the issues surrounding this topic.

Maria Green, a visiting scholar at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and International Law in Lund, Sweden, called attention to the relationship between freedom of expression and a government's obligation to inform the public about the details of its policies and procedures. In matters like the right to health care and the right to development, she argued, full and free communications are essential to progress.

Thomas Brudholm, a philosopher at the University of Copenhagen, raised questions about the fundamental meaning of "hate." He challenged judges and members of the public alike to think more deeply about how the concept of hatred can be distinguished from more ordinary expressions of opinion and anger.

Tasmeen Khalil, a journalist who has covered human rights issues in Bangladesh and in Europe, articulated some of the essential dilemmas of writing stories about political violence in a climate where the mere publication of such stories can further fan the flames of conflict.

The discussion featured commentary and questions from a number of international judges, many who serve on courts that have adjudicated cases involving hate speech. The evening was moderated by Hans Corell, former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations, and a member of the Center’s International Advisory Board.

The "Freedom of Expression" conversation was the closing session of the 2013 Brandeis Institute for International Judges. The institute was held July 28-31 in nearby Lund, Sweden, in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Lund University Faculty of Law.