Episode 25 – Oslo Freedom Forum Special with Larry Diamond


Today´s episode is going to be a radical departure from the chronological timeline of the general podcast so far. I´m currently in Oslo for the annual Oslo Freedom Forum, organized by the Human Rights Foundation. The Oslo Freedom Forum is a unique gathering of human rights and democracy activists from all over the world joining forces to connect, share ideas and build alliances to strengthen freedom and undermine authoritarianism. To take advantage of the Oslo Freedom Forum I have decided to do a number of Expert Opinions on current cutting-edge topics related to free speech. The first episode will look at the why the so-called “Democratic Recession” is mirrored by a “Free Speech Recession,” with Stanford Professor Larry Diamond. In this discussion we explore:

  • The nature and consequences of the “Democratic Recession”
  • Why restricting freedom of expression is the precondition for the assault on democracy
  • Why and modern authoritarian populist repression differs from the totalitarian methods of the 20th century
  • An exposé of the step-by-step authoritarian´s guide to dismantle independent media, dissent and civil society (meant as a warning not a manual!)
  • Why restrictions of free speech in liberal democracies embolden censorship efforts in authoritarian regimes
  • The consequences of the current American administration´s hostility to independent media and disengagement from promoting free speech norms
  • Whether social media has been a net benefit or liability to the causes of free speech and democracy
  • Why and how global norms matter, and can help reverse the “Free Speech Recession”

Larry Diamond is professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy. He has written extensively on democracy and is most recently the author of Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency.

Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the “Great Firewall.”

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