Olav Dirkmaat, director of CADEP of the University Francisco Marroquín, presents the topic of the talk which is Censura en redes sociales, ¿amenazas para la libertad de expresión? The discussion is held with Flemming Rose, foreign affairs editor at Jyllands-Posten. Flemming tells about his time in Russia and how it shaped his idea of censorship and the importance of free speech. Flemming goes to the beginning of his life, he grew up in Denmark which is a peaceful and democratic place and took freedom of speech for granted. As a young student, he spent a year in Moscow working as a translator for the Danish Counselor with fugitives of the Soviet Union who were exiled. He explains the experience was very defining because he saw people who expressed their opinion according to their beliefs and lost their lives.
Freedom of speech is a matter of culture, education. It is a matter of educating yourself and learning to live with things that you hate.” – Flemming Rose
Flemming illustrates how self censorship has its challenges. People are afraid to say what they think and believe to the public domain. He argues that freedom of expression has a lot of arguments of why it is important, from being able to pursue the truth to being free to have different opinions. He believes one of the most important arguments is that we belong to a very diverse society and freedom of speech is needed in order to live with people from different religions or cultures.
Olav talks about Flemming´s way of expression through cartoons and how he portrays sensitive topics through them. Flemming then explains that when he got back to Denmark, a lot of Islam immigration was a big issue and the last few years there has been a lot of killing around Europe which made him want to use his talent to express his opinion about what has happed.
Freedom of expression is very counterintuitive in the sense that people do not want to hear things that they don´t like and our instinctive reaction is to shut people down.” – Fleming Rose
Flemming expresses his love for the First Amendment of the United States because of its protection of freedom of speech. In order for freedom of speech to exist, people need to educate themselves on everything that makes the world and its people. He makes a solid point that freedom of speech does not come only from law but also from culture. The laws need to be exercised daily among people in order to protect them.
According to Flemming, censorship comes from all places and in order to fight it everyone needs to fight it and stand up for their beliefs. He says that there is a connection between freedom of expression and solving conflicts without violence. It is important to set straight that freedom of expression is necessary for the world to flourish but people need to start accepting, learning and listening to others without judgment.
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Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín