Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Denial Denied: Freedom of Speech


A- A+
Alt. Display

Opinion Articles

Denial Denied: Freedom of Speech


Glen Newey

Keele University, UK; Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, FI
About Glen
Glen Newey is Professor of Politics and International Relations, and in 2008-10 is a Visiting Fellow.
X close


Free speech is a widely held principle. This is in some ways surprising, since formal and informal censorship of speech is widespread, and rather different issues seem to arise depending on whether the censorship concerns who speaks, what content is spoken or how it is spoken. I argue that despite these facts, free speech can indeed be seen as a unitary principle. On my analysis, the core of the free speech principle is the denial of the denial of speech, whether to a speaker, to a proposition, or to a mode of expression. Underlying free speech is the principle of freedom of association, according to which speech is both a precondition of future association (e.g. as a medium for negotiation) and a mode of association in its own right. I conclude by applying this account briefly to two contentious issues: hate speech and pornography.

How to Cite: Newey, G., 2009. Denial Denied: Freedom of Speech. Amsterdam Law Forum, 2(1), pp.63–70. DOI:
Published on 14 Dec 2009.


  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus