Global Freedom of Expression

15 December


Copenhagen Conference – The Future of Free Speech

  • 9:30am-4:30pm CET
  • Danish Parliament and ONLINE


Justitia cordially invites you to take part in its upcoming conference on the future of free speech, which will mark the closing of phase 1 of the Future of Free Speech project. The conference will be held at the Danish Parliament on the 15th of December 2022.

Free speech is the bulwark of liberty; without it, no free and democratic society has ever been established or thrived. Free expression has been the basis of unprecedented scientific, social and political progress that has benefitted individuals, communities, nations and humanity itself. Millions of people derive protection, knowledge and essential meaning from the right to challenge power, question orthodoxy, expose corruption and address oppression, bigotry and hatred.

At the “Future of Free Speech,” we believe that a robust and resilient culture of free speech must be the foundation for the future of any free, democratic society. We believe that, even as rapid technological change brings new challenges and threats, free speech must continue to serve as an essential ideal and a fundamental right for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender or social standing.

However, free speech has been in global decline for more than a decade. Left unchecked, this deterioration of free speech threatens individual freedom, civil society and democratic institutions as well as progress in science and philosophy. There are many reasons for the global decline in free speech, including the rise of authoritarianism on all continents. Even in open societies, the democratization and virality of online speech are increasingly seen as a threat rather than a precondition for well-functioning, free, tolerant and pluralist societies. Threats – both real and imagined – from hate speech, extremism, terrorism and disinformation have led to calls for stricter regulation of speech from both authoritarian and democratic governments, social media companies, individuals, and NGOs. To mention just one example, the recent coronavirus has led not only to a global public health emergency but also to a global censorship pandemic, as many governments scramble to suppress misinformation, while others have used the opportunity to grab even more power over both the press and online opinions. Such measures put both the value of and the right to free speech under pressure but also challenge defenders of free speech to re-examine, update and upgrade the arguments for why free speech matters. Historical lessons are crucial to understanding the value of free speech, but in a digital age, in which propaganda and disinformation can travel the globe in seconds, it is no longer enough to rely solely on tried and tested free speech arguments from previous eras.

Considering the above, our conference will bring together experts from tech companies, civil society, international organizations and academia to discuss burning questions about the future of free speech. To this end, we will look at global developments from around the globe explained, followed by a panel with a focus on online speech and the future of content moderation online.

Read more and register for either online or on-site participation

Free Admission for both online and on-site participation.


9:30-10:30: Opening Remarks

  • Jacob Mchangama (Justitia)
  • Anastasia Garina (Memorial – Nobel peace prize laureate)
  • Monika Bickert (Meta)

10:30-11:00: Coffee Break

11:00-13:00: 1st plenary session | Free Speech: Global Developments 

  • Galina Arapova (Mass Media Defence Centre)
  • Eric Heinze (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Ourveena Geereesha Topsy-Sonoo (African Commission on Human and People’s Rights)

13:00-14:00: Lunch Break

14:00-16:00: 2nd plenary session | Tacking Stock: Challenges, Synergies and the Way Forward – Extremist Speech Online 

  • Joan Barata (Stanford Cyber Policy Center)
  • Nighat Dad (Digital Rights Foundation – Oversight Board)
  • Kerem Altiparmak (Freedom of Expression Association İFÖD – İfade Özgürlüğü Derneği)