After Charlie Hebdo: We Must Never Cease to Protect the Rights of People who Provoke and Challenge

Why do satirists and critics of religion have to be so provocative? Why must they publish images that they know to be offensive to some people’s beliefs and traditions – and that brutal extremists may use as a pretext for terrorist acts? That such questions are asked is understandable. But for many reasons they must… Read more »

The Road to Hell is Paved With Rapid Reactions

In the wake of a vicious crime, caution and restraint are a virtue. Once upon a time, in the realm of Xanadu, two and a half dim-witted but well-armed, well-funded and well-trained professional criminals committed cold-blooded murder, commando-style. While committing their crime, they uttered two sentences vocally and publically, following their script to a T…. Read more »

Norway’s Outdated Citizenship Legislation

The war in Syria, the threat of Islamic radicalisation, and fears that terrorists may recruit Norwegian citizens have sparked renewed debate about Norway’s citizenship legislation. Meanwhile, another debate continues to be forgotten: We call for a reopening of the debate on dual citizenship, as Norway’s antiquated legislation is out of step with that of its… Read more »

The Limits of post-22 July Media Debates

In times of crisis, citizens and victims typically look to the government for leadership, protection, direction, and order – what is often characterized as a ‘master narrative’. Faced with terror and tragedy journalists seek to comfort and reassure the public, and willingly and instinctively move from their professional, neutral critical role towards a pastoral role.

Has Much Time Gone By?

One of the most famous anecdotes about the passing of time is from the early 1970s, when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was asked what he thought about the French Revolution, to which he replied: ‘It is too early to say’. The fact that the interpreter has later pointed out that Zhou probably thought the question… Read more »

The Ethics in Free Speech

”This is moralism‘, we were told after having published an op-ed in one of the largest Norwegian newspapers, Aftenposten, in June 2013. This reaction made us even more curious about whether ethics is of any relevance to citizens’ freedom of expression. In our view, the critique is due to the confusion between what is normally… Read more »