Freedom of expression on shifting ground: Confessions of a lost liberal. Closing keynote at the Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff University
15 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2021
Date Written: September 24, 2021
This is the text of a keynote delivered at the Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff University, September 24, 2021. The classical liberal paradigm has served mainstream professional journalism well through most of its history. That paradigm is enshrined in international human rights law as well as the constitutional orders of liberal democracies. Even in semi- and non-democracies, liberalism has provided a strong philosophical justification for many journalists’ professional norms and routines. In recent years, however, liberalism has appeared to be losing its hegemonic status. Various megatrends — chronic denial of dignity to the Global South; the shift in the economic centre of gravity towards China; unremitting racial and social injustice within free societies — have eroded trust in political liberalism, including freedom of the speech and of the press. This keynote asks if the liberal paradigm is beyond repair and, if so, which of its principles are worth salvaging.
Keywords: liberalism, democracy, media freedom, human rights
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