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Fighting for freedom of expression in China and beyond

ucyow3c18 March 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Dylan Brethour (UCL History MA student)

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental, universal and transnational right, only to be restricted in extremis.”

Chinese newspaper The World Journal. Credit Flickr user Canadian Pacific: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18378305@N00/

Chinese newspaper the World Journal.
Credit: http://bit.ly/1gtFahG

So began John Kampfner’s portion of “China and Freedom of Speech: new systems for accountability in the press”. Kampfner, a journalist and former Chief Executive of the Index on Censorship, set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Organised by UCL’s China Centre for Health & Humanity and Centre for Transnational History, the event was introduced Dr Axel Korner and Dr Vivienne Lo and included presentations and a subsequent discussion by Professor Zhengxiao Guo, Dr Lily Chang, and Mr Stephen Perry.

Despite some differences among the panellists, there was a common sense that no country can afford the luxury of indifference in the maintenance of something so essential as freedom of expression.

While China was the locus of the discussion, all of the participants touched on broader global threats to freedom of expression. Kampfner discussed some of the methods governments use to disguise restrictive measures.

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Is self-regulation of the Press drawing to an end?

news editor30 November 2012

Written by Daniel Bowman, UCL Union Debating Society committee member.

On Monday 26th November 2012 the UCL Union Debating Society hosted a debate on the subject ‘This House Believes that the press can no longer be trusted to self regulate’.

On the panel were some of the most active and distinguished participants in the wider public debate.

Speaking against press self-regulation were the Labour MP Chris Bryant, Shadow Minister for Borders and Immigration, Jacqui Hames, former detective and presenter of Crimewatch, and Mark Lewis, the media lawyer, who has represented many victims of phone-hacking, including the Dowler family.

Speaking in defence of a system of press self-regulation were Neil Wallis, the former News of the World deputy editor, Conservative MP John Whittingdale, Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and Toby Young, the journalist and author.

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Media regulation: time to turn the mirror of transparency?

news editor29 November 2012

Written by Anna Donovan, PhD student at UCL Laws.

We should fret less about state versus self regulation and think much more carefully about how best to protect speech. This was the lesson of the Centre for Ethics and Law’s annual lecture on 28 November, which considered the question of media freedoms and media standards.

The lecture was presented by Baroness Onora O’Neill, chaired by UCL’s Professor Richard Moorhead and had contributions from Gill Philips and Professor Ian Hargreaves CBE.

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