Areo Magazine:”Democracy has no place for safe spaces”

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It’s a paradox: The ability to communicate, spread and access information freely across borders and barriers has never been more readily available to people around the globe. Yet the belief in freedom of thought and expression as fundamental values underpinning an uber-connected world seems to be eroding. Even in democracies. Whether its American college students protesting (sometimes violently) speakers they disagree with, European democracies panicking about fake news, populism and extremism, or the American president labelling the media an “enemy of the people.” Instead free speech has increasingly come to be viewed as an excuse and a vehicle for racism, bigotry, populism, disinformation and a general threat to social peace, harmony and order. This is backed up by data from Freedom House showing that global respect for press freedom reached a 13-year low in 2016 following constant decline since 2004.

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Jacob Mchangama

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