For me, this current movement for social change has generated confusion about my stance on Free Speech.

Should someone be allowed to say ‘Racists are vile’ ?
What about if we substitute Racists for Black people or Gays or Feminists?

Many of us instinctively say we support freedom of expression but we become more hesitant when views are expressed which we personally find offensive or insulting.

Should all offensive speech be banned? But how should we decide what is acceptable and what is not?

National laws generally cover:

* Obscenity (although it’s very difficult to define)
* Lies (perjury, libel, false advertising)
* Incitement to violence

But currently, there is no legal international definition of Hate Speech.

This 2-minute video looks at some of the issues.


  • Paul Stevens

    CEO, Mayflower College, Plymouth, UK

    Paul has been involved in English language training and testing for the past 30 years, specializing in Aviation English, Maritime English, Academic English and Business English. His latest project is, looking at the communication process 'from the other side', at how native-English speakers can filter and simplify their English and have a better understanding of the challenges ESL speakers face.