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How Free Is Free Speech?


How Free Is Free Speech: Do we recommend unconstrained freedom of expression?

The Chief Human Rights Commissioner, David Rutherford, will be In Conversation with Noel Cheer at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington on Tuesday 3 March 2015 from 12:15pm to 1:00pm. This is one of an ongoing series of events under the auspices of The St Andrew's Trust for the Study of Religion and Society (SATRS).

The recent massacre of staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has reminded us of the wide range of standards applied to the question of how free can free speech be, especially in the context of satire. In an attempt to offer a balanced view, we have invited our Chief Human Rights Commissioner, David Rutherford, to clarify for us the standards required by the law in New Zealand.

The Human Rights Commission helps New Zealanders to know and realise the human rights of themselves and others. The first of its two main functions is to promote respect for human rights, of which freedom of expression is commonly seen to be one. The second function is to encourage harmonious relations between diverse people in New Zealand society.

Having established the New Zealand position, the Conversation will look at overseas conditions which include recent tragic events and to ask whether there can be a reconciliation between human rights, in general, and free speech in particular.

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