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tv   Free Speech in France America  CSPAN  September 9, 2021 7:11pm-8:11pm EDT

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in france, freedom of speech is guaranteed under the declaration of rights of man. but with deceptions, and particular, hate speech. up next, a panel of journalists and law professors compare the definition of free speech in france and the united states and explore whether france's model would work here. the national constitution center hosted this program and provided the video. >> this is the second and a
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wonderful series of panels cosponsored by the cultural services of the french embassy, which compare u.s. and french approaches to the constitution. i want to share that yesterday i was hiking day in creek park in the u.s.. i came across a monument to the french ambassador and it was right by cliff where he used to hike by theodore roosevelt. i want to read a clip. it reminds us of the central fraternity of the u.s. and france in defending values like free speech and liberty. this is wet franklin roosevelt said in 1936, we shall link mr. jussie hansen him forever with the names of lafayette, russian bow and the grass and other valiant frenchman, whose service to the country entitles them for all-time to the great
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remembrance of all americans, it is an inspiring dedication and it reminds us of the central enlightenment values that we share in the u.s. and france. the central role of france in making america independence possible and our shared commitment to free speech. we will explore that today with four of the greatest scholars and commentators a free speech in america and france and i'm so delighted to introduce them to you and then to begin our discussion. i will do that. now marc-olivier bherer, steph editor and reporter for the debate section -- he, his articles are illuminating and i've learned from them each time i read them. he was an even fellow and i
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think is now. he's been published in many magazines and has translated several books including jonathan israel's revolutionary ideas. suzanne f. nossel is the ceo of penn america deleting -- she's the author of dare to speak, defending free speech for all, an important book that we hadn't illuminating discussion on a recent town hall. jeffrey stone, he's a distinguished service professor at the university of chicago. he is the author of many centrally important books on constitutional law including the free speech century, speaking out reflections of law, liberty and justice, perilous times and free speech and war times. his newest book coedited during his national freedom of the press, he is the author of the national constitution center's explainer on the first amendment with eugene.
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and helene a law professor at a university in france. correct or the law schools and programs of international law and an expert on reparations before the international criminal court. she's also a member of the un, human rights committee. thank you so much for joining us. marc-olivier bherer suzanne nossel helene, and jeff. jeff, i want to begin with you. you wrote a piece the controversy in france, explaining why in america the publication of the charlie hebdo cartoon although considered blasphemous by some but absolutely be protected by the first members of the constitution. tell us why the first amendment protects blasphemy. with the central case is that protect the expressions and under what circumstances in the
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first amendment on offensive speech can be banned? >> there have been laws in the united states in the past that prohibited blasphemy. and if you go back to the late, and night late 19th century, there were prosecutions for blasphemous speech, but over the last hundred years or so it became clear that the concept of punishment for blasphemy clearly violates both the free speech clause of the constitution and the free exercise clause of the constitution. knowledge -- it's not been a successful constitution for blasphemy in this country for close to a century. in the charlie hebdo situation, there were issues that would arise today that would be less of one about blasphemy but more about whether the speech created a danger of a violent response. the first amendment of
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jurisprudence in the united states had evolved over the course of the past century, and has become much more speech protective overtime. in 1951, the supreme court had a case where an individual was giving a speech that was clearly upsetting to a number of observers and the police eventually ordered him to stop speaking, arrested him because of the concern that there might be a violent response and the supreme court sharply divided decision upheld the conviction and said that the first amendment did not protect his speech in that circumstance. in the 70 years since then, however, free speech continues to evolve and it's been since 1969, the supreme courts decision brandenburg versus ohio, this was a situation in which a nazi speaker was engaged and a highly inflammatory speech. he was arrested because of the
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concern that that speech would cause others to engage in racist violence against others, and supreme court held that he cannot constitutionally be punished in that situation unless the government could prove that he had a specific intent to cause that harm, and that the harm was likely imminent and grave. the court has to this day never held to have been satisfied. the charlie hebdo situation raises a dramatic example of that problem, because let us suppose that after the first incident we were to have a second publication of the same types of cartoons knowing what happened the first time, and the question is how many times when you do this knowing that the response is likely to be triggered by violence, obviously the magazine would say we did not have a specific
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intent of causing not, but the government could say there is a clear and present danger. we know this from past experience. supreme courts never address that question. they've never had to address that question. and my guess is that except in situation in which the danger was, as i say, clear present and grave, the courts would uphold the rights of the magazine and the speaker to engage in speech and put the burden on government to avoid violence by providing protection against, it but the court has not had a really charlie hebdo type situation in the united states since brandenburg. and it is not 100% clear with the court would do, particularly if this was the second time it happened and we knew we had occurred in the first instances. >> thank you so much for that extremely clear explanation of the brandenburg speech in the u.s.. must be protected unless it is
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intended to and likely to cause imminent violence. you said there might be some question about that for a second publication -- helene, it is the source of the protection for free speech in france in the constitution's and statute. are this charlie hebdo cartoons protected, and one of the circumstances under which free speech could be restricted as incitement to violence in france? >> thank you very much for the question. it's so important. doug it's an important difference between the french and the u.s. on this topic and the equation of limitation. the first difference is in terms of legal protections because of course we do not have a similar first amendment. the freedom of speech is protected by different statues and very important statues in france and of course there is also important decisions from the french constitutional
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court. also the european courts of human rights. but i would say from a general point of view the statutes of freedom of speech and the very wide scope of the freedom of speech is very different in france compared to the u.s.. and in relation to what has been said, for instance, in order to limit the freedom of speech or the press of freedom, the requirement is not as high as the imminent violence requirement or the danger requirement. actually, the french approach to freedom of speech is really more balanced, i would say. big and we will develop this point maybe later, but actually
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the journalists, the media, it's that era, of course it's understood as a key element as a democratic society, and as such, they are protected, but in the meantime they have duties and responsibilities, and for instance, i would just give two examples of limitations. apology of terrorism. a journalist cannot, for instance, published cartoons, jokes, etc on terrorism. we have different legislation in france to this kind of apology of terrorism. it's prohibited. doug under criminal sanction. even if they would be considered as not immediately dangerous or imminently calling for violent acts, and the other element we just mentioned, that the other element is criticism on religion.
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it really depends, again, because we have to conceal the freedom of speech, the press freedom, etc with the respect -- and respected reputation, religion, and others. the bottom line is to say that we do not have such a broad and wide scope of freedom of speech, and it must be concealed with other rights and liberties. >> thank you very much. that is extremely clear and helpful as well. and it supports publication on the french publication website which lets you know everything about freedom of expression in france. the french government websites as freedom of expression -- freedom of press and a lot of 1881, but it has limits. racism, antisemitism, reach
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should, hatred are not opinions. and the following are punishable by law. reaffirming your points. incitement to terrorism which must be direct and explicit incitement, not only in spirit but in its terms. public justification of terrorism which consists and presenting -- one justifying or praising them. since 2014 it's also punishable by seven years of incarceration, and it also has the following punishable by law, public provocations to hatred, violence, we sold a scrum nation, public definitions on grounds -- religious group public cylinder, on the same grounds and disputing crimes on humanity. jeff and hélène have put the broad principles on the table. are these exceptions and french law -- where do they come from? where they buy courts, where they by law? and is there some principle
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that justifies them, are they just a series of exceptions that french courts or french will have recognized and help us further understand the similarities and differences between the brandenburg standard in on these exceptions? on pan>> i don't consider mysela great legal expert, which is why i like to be on panels with people like jeff and hélène, but when i will say is that under the icc pr article 19, which is the international standard for protection of freedom of expression, it is less speech protected than the first amendment and it makes space for concepts like incitement to hatred and incitement to discrimination as cognizable grounds for the mutations on freedom of expression, which are criteria that we don't recognize here in the united states what's really in this area are the differences between the kind of global approach is use in europe and u.s. approach are
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most striking where we have this very high standard that chef has outlined. where it's very needed and it has to be imminent, likely to result in violence, whereas in europe if it's incitement to discrimination and antisemitic or a racist cartoon, that is judged as having a propensity to lead toward stoking bigoted attitudes that can be banned and from a u.s. perspective i think what is sort of troubling about that is it seems very elastic. it seems enormously elastic. you take it to things like sexism, protections of women that might have a propensity to give rise to sexist attitudes. that would be so much of film and television until the last couple of years. i think that is sort of the essence of this. i think it bears saying a
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couple of other things. jeff points out in the united states you could not ban the charlie hebdo cartoons. that's true. they certainly weren't banned in france. yet, the whole controversy about those cartoons really has a little to do with the law. it's really mostly a matter of public attitudes. even though the cartoon certainly would've protected speech in the country, they were not published. they were important news outlets, they were certainly -- it was newsworthy and many news outlets thought and hesitated to publish them, because of a taboo that exists in this country. i think a lot of the folks in my book, they speak about how so many of our free speech controversies today really don't implicate the first amendment or even international law that have to do with -- how we govern ourselves. it's how to probe into these
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distinctions between the u.s. and the french -- without getting into some of that. to just point -- i think in this point, in this case my french colleagues will contradict me if you think i'm wrong, but there's an excellent argument that they were on notice and continued to publish provocative contents. there was a controversy back in 2006. the editor of charlie hebdo was put on and al-qaeda's most wanted list alongside the editors and journalists, because they republished the so-called danish cartoons. so that awareness, i thought it was interested that you brought up the idea that a court might treat it differently if there was such clear evidence that it might elicit a violent response. i think there probably was that evidence in this case.
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my own understanding of these precepts has always been a crucial distinction between incitement and provocation. incitement being kind of an egging on where you're encouraging people to engage in violence and provocation being that you are saying something objectionable or outlandish or incendiary. in response, somebody have no control over, engages in violence. i think and hope that that distinction is a strong one, because i think there's a very different level of culpability. if we start holding people responsible for the reaction of others to wet they say, even if those reactions may be predictable, i think that sort of strikes me as quite a dangerous road to go down. it's an amplified hecklers veto. it's clear in advance that i'm
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going to go nuclear if you dare offend me and some or other way. your rights might be constricted on the basis of that. >> thank you very much for all that and for flagging the dangers of the hecklers. and introducing the central legal authority you called the icc pr. that is the international covenant on civil and political rights which predicts evil -- freedoms of expression. that article was cited by the facebook advisory board which suzanne, you serve on in the recent trump facebook decision where the advisory board noted that facebook had invoked the icc pr and non permitting necessary and proportionate restrictions on freedom of expression in situations of public emergency that threaten the life of a nation. you noted that this is more elastic in the first amendment standards. mark olivier, before we leave
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france entirely and brought into the international standard you are one of the most thoughtful observers of the similarities and differences between french and american law. i'm still having trouble locating exactly where it isn't french law that this free expression is protected. judicial, statutes, the international declaration for rights of men. legally and culturally, how would you help us understand the differences between the french and american constitutional protections of free speech? >> quite frankly, thank you for this question and the invitation. i am not a legal scholar, and i have very limited legal culture. i am more a practitioner of freedom of expression as a journalist. when i could tell you about the charlie hebdo debate is that
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even though surely hebdo is protected by french laws, it does not mean that there is a unified understanding of these caricatures and france. it is the cause of major debates -- a theater where the controversy has played out. it's important to remember that even though france seems to be unified, and the french president seems to be pushing forward saying we must protect the freedom of expression of these journalist sent of these cartoonists, it does not mean that it, that all society agrees on. that le monde was really keen after the attack to say "je
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suis charlie", a expression that the big part of france embraced. i don't think that anybody in the news room was a green with that. it's important to remember that there are divisions and other ways to look at these issues, the practice of freedom, raises those questions. it should be welcomed. they're part of democratic expressions. as a journalist i feel very much protected by the laws which exist in france. they put borders on what we can do. the call to violence is really clear. it is forbidden, which means that some -- an article that was recently published in the american press, in which a major editor, a
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major publication fired over an op-ed that was published under the -- sending the troops. it could not have been published in france. i could not publish that. i would have been legally liable for that. call to violence or forbidden. >> fascinating. you've just told us that that is an example of the differences between the two protections. you could not publish the colin of troops. very interesting indeed's. jeff, for this round, all of your colleagues refer to these international standards, clearly under international law, there is greater grounds for prohibiting hate speech in europe then there is in the u.s.. holocaust denial is forbidden. june germany as well as france
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and james witman has a most wonderful article about two conceptions of privacy, liberty versus dignity where he says the european permissions for the prohibition of hate speech are rooted and protections of dignity, whereas the u.s. is more focused on liberty. take us out to the european u.s. comparison and tell us about the kinds of speech that could be banned under european and international instruments that cannot be banned in the u.s.. to under>> hate speech is a god example. i think it's important to understand that. the united states has come to a position that is highly protective of the right to free speech, but it did not start that way. the supreme court, when it first began interpreting the first amendment in 1919, upheld the convictions of a broad range of individuals who had
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criticized world war i and the draft on the ground that such speech could interfere with the ability of the government to draft soldiers and to fight the war successfully, and therefore could be prohibited. and later under the communist era in the 19 fifties, the supreme court upheld the convictions -- communist party on the grounds that fair speech could be harmful to the nation. during the civil rights era lower courts upheld convictions of civil rights marchers, because they triggered a response by white onlookers that were seen as violent, and therefore you could punish the marchers for doing this. overtime, with the supreme court came to understand is that first of all, we cannot trust ourselves to have the authority to decide wet we as americans can say. in the moment we may think
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we're being fair minded and balanced, and appropriate, and proportionate, but with hindsight we realize that our judgment has been severely colored by the circumstances and by the pressures of the time. with the court learned over those decades is that it cannot trust ourselves and it cannot trust itself to have the authority to approve this oppression of speech when that speech might be offensive to others. and even if it causes harm, unless the harm is essentially likely to create an imminent and grieve danger. and one wouldn't start there. -- in 1919, when would have a hard time justifying such an extreme approach a free speech. and even though as we know, --
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brandeis embraced an approach somewhat like that very early on. it's not even clear they would've carried it as far as we do today. i think a lot of first amendment jurisprudence on this issue is the product of learning from our own mistakes, and learning that we cannot trust ourselves. in particular, we cannot trust ourselves to allow the majority to decide would points of view can be prohibited. yes, you can regulate speech in terms of time, place and manner of the speech, not based on the message being communicated, as long as it's reasonable, but as soon as the government picks out particular points of views, whether it be anti-war speech or communist speech, or civil rights speech, or hate speech, we don't trust ourselves to do that. and we therefore air dramatically on the side of guaranteeing free speech. there is a cost to that. we're allowing speech that also causes harm in society, but what we have learned is that it's better to deal with those
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harms than with the danger of giving the government the power to decide which ideas and which points of views it will censor. >> think you very much for that. thank you for reminding us that the protections for hate speech stemming from brandenburg are relatively recent, and that they make the u.s. very much an outlier when it comes to the rest of the world. >> one more thought. the supreme court did uphold equivalent of hate speech law in 1952 in a case call barney. and the court clearly rejected the premise of that decision ever since. -- not a single justice has even argued that hate speech could be prohibited -- for half century now every
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single justice would invest that question has embraced the view that hate speech is a point of view and we are not going to allow the government to suppress certain points of view. sorry, i just wanted to mention that. >> no, it is essential and a reminder as you said that it really hasn't been that long since the 19 fifties that the u.s., as early as the 19 fifties -- it raises the question that i would like us to begin. on whether this is an aberration in the u.s. jurisprudence, and there are tremendous pressures to move u.s. more any repeal direction, and as we saw in the facebook decision where the advisory board invoked international law, and we see it growing, demands for the regulation of hate speech online. the question is, will and should the u.s. go more in an international direction. hélène, you are a scholar of
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international law. help us understand more of the instruct -- international instruments that regulate free speech, including one that suzanne nossel flagged and whether the precise -- understanding it's a balancing of interests, how does international law balance interests of speakers against hate speech and what kind of hate speech does it allow the regulation of? >> thank you. committee. i'm going to talk about -- i'm a member of the human rights committee, so it's the part that is in charge of dealing with the icc pr and -- on this issue of limitation, of types of speech, both organs more or less have the same approach to limitation. there are two kinds of limitations of speech authorized on the international level.
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when a speech is very offensive, discriminatory, or a speech targets, for instance, the community, there are many many judgments delivered by the european court of human rights on prohibition of the speech, for instance, that targets the roma community in a sense, or describes roma community as a very bad community and so on, and so forth. the balance made by the european court of human rights and the human rights committee, is really a test of necessity and proportionality. the necessity to protect freedom of speech, because it is an important pillar of democracy. but also the necessity to protect the rights of minorities, the rights of different groups and so on and so forth. on a case by case, analyze both
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human rights committee on the european -- of human rights, do assess whether the limitation of the speech or the prohibition of the speech was in conformity with the european convention of human rights. there is also another type of discourse totally prohibited by international law. it's for instance, as you mentioned, genocide denial. the holocaust, so on and so forth. in this case, it's not only a limitation, not freedom of speech, but both in the european convention and in the icy pr, there is a prohibition dealing with abusive rights, and when someone for instance makes a discourse, denying the holocaust for the international bodies, it is considered as an abuse of rights and so it means that the person does not have
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the right anymore to use the freedom of speech. to claim the violation of these authors of freedom of speech. so they are also many interesting decisions, for instance against france, for us on, is unfortunately i would say a very famous person who denied the holocaust and the second wall warrants are one and so forth. and it came before the human rights committee and the human rights committee rejected his complaint and we've had another recent example. an artistic performance dealing with the holocaust and again, denying the holocaust, the performance was prohibited by the french authorities. and the artist was not
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permitted to go before the european court of human rights. so indeed, on the contrary to the u.s., the prohibition of this kind of not only offensive or discriminatory discourses, but also very discourses that are very harmful to dignity. you mentioned the concept of dignity. it is absolutely prohibited by international and european law. >> thank you very much for that and for signaling this idea of dignity as the core of international protections, a very different approach than the u.s. one. suzanne, there's a limit to what you can tell us about the facebook advisory board, but it did cite the body in its provisions. do you see international law rather than then the first amendment being the foundation of free speech online? seeing is how most speech takes
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place online? and companies like facebook are choosing to abide by international rather than u.s. standards? you mentioned the malleability of u.s. standards. is that a good thing? or are you concerned that free speech may suffer as a result? >> a couple of things. it remains the case that the major social media platforms are u.s. based and the first amendment does just helpfully inform the way in which both the executives and legal councils grew up and the way they understand the world and i think the firm, at least rhetorical commitment to free speech that is embedded in these platforms. i think when it comes to adjudicating content online, there is a strong logic to looking to international law as a standard. because it's global. these issues are global. and we are looking at every
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jurisdiction in the world. so to the extent that the laws differ, national law comes into play, and platforms have to adhere to the jurisdictions i operate. france is operated a restricted hate law that imposes harsh fines for platforms that failed to take down hateful speech. and that arguably -- i mean, a u.s. lens would argue, that the prohibition like that may be a contravention of international law, may go too far. and yet the platforms are certainly bound to him. but when it comes to the oversight board, international law is the right preference point. it's important to understand, though, the notion is not that it implies directly on automatic -- platforms. international law binds governance. and it's developed to address and circumscribe the powers of
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government. so it requires inductive reasoning to think about, how that power ought to apply to a private company. and i think there are ideas in the international law that our helpful, the notion that a restriction on freedom of speech needs to be enumerated. people need to be on notice that something is prohibited. the ideas of necessity and proportionality that elaine touched on. i think it's a useful reference point, the work of figuring out how to apply it sensibly and in this global, private context of a private platform. it is really now just getting underway. will that then filter back to how u.s. courts adjudicate free speech issues? i think that's possible. we have seen some courts around the world begin to reference the earliest first few decisions of the oversight
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board. because the board is kind of confronting many of these cutting edge questions. that we may look at as well. so that is sort of how i will look at it. but i think it's important to recognize that -- you know, i don't think anyone's arguing that we should treat private companies the same way that we do governments. we all accept and, you know, in fact demand, much more aggressive levels of intervention, moderation, takedowns from private companies then you would accept from a government in the context of freedom of speech protections. just to go quickly to your racial question of whether this slow slide here in the u.s. toward a more internationalist or european approach is a good idea. i think one of the factors that we are confronting, and all of this is just --
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a society has become more diverse, these difficult questions, talking about how we have learned these lessons the hard way, about how dangerous it is to abrogate the power to do this line drawing into the hands of government. and europe it seems very clear cut when it's antisemitism. but when it's anti muslim sentiment, it's sort of a very different prism that seems to apply when that speech is evaluated. asons,you can understand that fr historical and sociological reasons. but it raises real questions about whether any other government of stories are in a position to apply these precepts fairly. so if you question that, i think is sort of tilt the balance toward an american approach. where their discretion is limited. >> thanks for that. that's a great way of laying
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out the choices between the more international approach in the more marathon approach i think increasingly multicultural moment. mark olivier we have a question from our audience noting that -- my screen has just froze but it asked, in light of your discussion of the tom cotton op-ed, what about the publication of french army letters? tell us about that controversy as well as -- here we go, it's interesting to hear about the tom cotton op-ed, in light of the french army letters published, and the context allowed if the cotton op-ed would not be. tell us about that and other areas as a journalist where you could not publish stuff in france but would be published in the u.s.. >> concerning the army letter,
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i think it's a bit early to really comment on the legal aspect of it because it could go to a complaint, it could be filed and i don't know what would happen frankly, in terms of that. i think some of the others were seeing their publications to the french army were cut off. so it's already a form of sanction. but -- and clearly also it wasn't published by the same kind of institution. it was first published i think by a blog and then it was discovered by an ultra conservative weekly and so it's not the same publication as where tom cotton's work appeared. and so it doesn't have the same
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kind of general appeal. so it's difficult to compare them because these things matter. the second question of -- the second aspect of your question. ... i think it is important to understand that the culture around freedom of speech, even though it is such a broad and universalist experience supple, it's not the same. the more, the more is or not the same. for example, after charlie hebdo, usa today published an op-ed that really wasn't noise in france at the time. but i remember being shocked because it was written by a so-called islamic cleric, even
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though he defends terrorism and he made different appearances in the american press. i don't think i would publish such a person in an op-ed. it's okay to publish the opinion of such a person but there would be journalistic pushback. you wouldn't publish it in an open format where the person is free to say whatever they want. there would be questions from journalist. so the practice from freedom of speech is not the same. and i'm not saying that one is better than the other and i think it is very unequivocal to make such a judgment like that. professor helene tigroudja, i'm
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sorry if i mispronounce to name, i -- started his career in the almond in 1977, in which he explained that the holocaust never happened and this led to laws being adopted to condemn the -- of the holocaust. you could say it's a good thing. i believe it's a good thing. but a friend of mine works on this and he interviewed the last lady who worked with the resistance. for him it was important to publish the op-ed. and it was important to publish the views of faurrsion. and the views must be expressed for what they are. so for that it is important to say that, that this does not
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work. i'm not in a position to make such a comment and there are different ways to look at it. >> thank you for laying out the arguments and for your modesty and not choosing among them. but for this last round, i think i do want to ask each of you, which tradition you would advocate for. one of our questioners notes the growing pressure in the u.s. adoption of more european style hate speech laws. and geoffrey stone you have written the leading protections for a free speech on campus in the united states. your inspiring updating of the principles of the university of chicago, the chicago principles, do you believe, and i would also say in response -- the u.s. tradition is that
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holocaust and i would have to be protected because as justice brandeis it would have to be protected. and we have faith that counter speech is protected, and it's better than suppression. do you believe that the u.s. should resist more european style protections practices of hate speech and why? >> i believe we should resist that and i believe the supreme court would agree with that proposition. the reason why is simply that i don't trust our government with the power to decide what ideas to suppress. again, looking back at our own experience, that has been abused repeatedly, in being able to find what is hate speech? it's hate speech criticizing african americans, latinos, asian americans, polls, jews,
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gays, straits, married people, unmarried people? it goes on and on. i think that in the end we are better off allowing free speech to be spoken and responding to it. and looking for education untruth. i think one of the things we see in our own countries about allowing speech that in many cases, we have changed our minds. we've changed our minds about women's rights, gay rights, civil rights. if the minority could press that speaks speech because they thought it was a moral, about gay rights or women's rights, i don't know where we would be to today. so there's a downside. not that there is no risk in taking the american approach. but i would rather take that risk then giving government the
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power to decide. would the trump administration have done if it had the authority to do that? i wouldn't, i suspect, want to live in a country in which the republican party had the power to decide this, what was unfair and hateful, and whatever. i don't think we would have the democracy we would strive to have today, if we allow that. and that's the lesson that we learn. i think that's the right lesson. >> thank you for that, inspiring defense of the american free speech tradition. and hélène tigroudja, i want to ask you about the european tradition, which emphasizes dignity to be preferred -- and they do want to ask you about a fascinating speech that president macron gave recently. he was denouncing what he
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called is lamaist separatism and said that i consciously theorized religious project is materializing deviations from the public's universal values. and in particular, and notably, he called out what he called social science theories imported from the united states by which he meant critical race theory's, with their problems, which exist but which must be added to ours. this is a complicated, but important intellectual conflict between a more universal holistic -- that president macron emphasized, liberty, equality, fraternity and dignity. identity politics based approach that he was questioning.
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how is it possible that on one hand france is embracing this universalism of critical race theory, but at the same time as allowing for more regulation than hate speech than the regular traditional -- >> very important questions, of course. maybe first on the european model, indeed and really attached to these european models. just to explain why i'm going to use a french expression, to live together. but i think it's really difficult, it's a social link to democracy but it's difficult to accept a discriminatory discourse. if we want to build a society based on the vivre-ensemble
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value. . it's really difficult to balance but it's also very important to keep this balance between a necessity and proportionality between -- the second element indeed is very worrying. in this case i would of course i think europe and france we need to take inspiration from the u.s. and as a scholar, especially, i'm really worried the -- unaccounted make freedom. it's not just a discourse, but we know the french ministry of the higher education decided to launch an investigation honoree searches, dedications of people who worked on colonialism, and
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so on and so forth. our history. and etc. it's not only at the level of political discourse but it has direct consequences on the way we work and the kind of -- for instance at the university, i teach gender theory. is it allowed? i don't know. of course it is my academic duty to talk to my students about gender theory, race theory. this economic freedom issue is very worrying and the rationality of this is really more political i would say that is really based on on an intellectual approach of universalism. >> fascinating for that this is an important complicated debate. it seems to be between the
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universalist tradition that president macron defended in his speech and rooted in any american first amendment tradition as well, it allowing multiplicity of views to to flourish without regulation. -- we will call it a more particular wrist -- associated with critical race theory that would suggest any academy and public square that is less grounds for free speech. how would you characterize this debate and help us understand how in this case it's france that seems to be on the side of universalism? >> i don't think it's that simple. there's an intimate interplay between our precepts and desire to give greater recognition other identities and experiences an emphasis that
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has been placed on critical race theory. the backlash against it. a lot of my work and my book is about how we can reconcile the imperative of driving more toward a more equal inclusive society with robust protections for free speech. and academic freedom. i think a lot of that best in the beginning it's not ultimately going to be resolved by law i think it's gonna be resolved by social norms and taboo's. how we figure out on how living how -- to live together, exercising voluntary restraint and how we could communicate to people about the imperative of that, and the benefits of that and how that can actually be a safeguard, and so for free speech. that the vast majority of us at the time would exercise conscientiousness and discretion and our respectful, i think we could have a space
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for margins of people who want to provoke, challenge -- advance terror sees that may be destructive, but it may also be catalytic for social progress. i think it is by reeves -- revising our set of social norms like government free speech that we can safeguard and make space for that which really tests and contests those. that is the way i look at it. >> thank you for that. i recommend your wonderful book to our viewers, which argues, among other things, that many of these debates must be resolved, not by law but by norms. mark olivier, you have an honored position, which is the last word in this great discussion. i will leave it to you to leave our listeners, as a student server of american and french society. how do you see the slim air -- similarities and differences between french and america's approach to free speech? >> the question of the norms
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and the way that we negotiate those are important. one of the things that struck me in the year that has passed in the u.s. as an academia, i've been struck by the number of generalists who have lost their jobs because of misplaced tweets in recent or past. where i can take a normative stance is i think in terms of the protection of workers. it would be great if the u.s. would take a bit of inspiration from france, because i believe there is a tendency to fire people a bit too fast. instead -- it looks as if management has taken into consideration the problem and moved and done something about it. but in fact, it's just getting rid of a problem, and the questions are not really asked. if you don't have the room to make a mistake and discuss it
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as a practitioner of freedom of expression, and then it's like well, why did it not work? what is the problem with that? and if you are just fired and then disappear, then you're taking less risks. you're not assessing the risk on trying to decide, how is a good way to counter democratic debate and the opinion pages of any given newspapers? in terms of law i would follow a call to strengthen unions. but that is really making more of a joke. but i think in observation, i think the aspect of work probations are important says a free speech. >> it's a crucial point. says in france there are
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protections for workers being fired on the bases of speech that don't exist in the u.s. and in that respect, we might indeed in the u.s. take a lesson from france. thank you so much. jeff stone, hélène tigroudja, marc-olivier bherer, think you so much vincent, at the cultural services and the french embassy to conceive this important series to the ambassador. felipe it cnn, who has been defending free speech and supporting our joint collaboration and the tradition of lafayette, russia limbaugh, and all those great french heroes who inspired me during my walk and inspired all of us with our shared devotion to the universal principles of liberty, fraternity, and equality. to our next convening very soon,
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and until then, thank you and see you soon. by, everyone. thank you.


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