“The podcast provides an engaging and inspiring history of free speech that is accessible to anyone interested in a topic that is fundamental to every human being and society. If you want to understand what’s at stake and know about the battles that our predecessors were engaged in the fight for free speech there can be no better place to start than with Jacob Mchangama’s podcast.” — Flemming Rose
The folks at FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) are on fire when it comes to almost anything having to do with free speech. They
- report news,
- host the So to Speak podcast series,
- host Weekly Video FIREside Chats,
- host the online First Amendment Library,
- video record and post the First Amendment Salons, and
- they also release reports and author books . . . and more.
→ The series is spearheaded by Jacob Mchangama, a Danish lawyer, human-rights expert, and social commentator and the founder and director of Justitia, a Copenhagen think tank focusing on human rights and the rule of law. For six years he served as chief legal counsel at CEPOS. This year Mchangama is a Visiting Fellow at FIRE.
Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall.
A prologue introduces the background of the podcast series and is being released today. The first official episode will be aired on February 1st. Subsequent episodes will be released on a bi-weekly basis.
Each episode focuses on a particular historical era or theme, providing listeners with a deeper understanding of how, where and why free speech has developed over time.
The first episode takes listeners back to ancient Athens focusing on the trial of Socrates and the crucial role that equal and uninhibited speech played in the world’s first democracy.
“We mustn’t allow free speech to fade into a feel-good slogan. It is an unintuitive principle with a rationale that many don’t appreciate and a history that many don’t know. Mchangama’s lucid history of free speech fills that gap and deepens our understanding of this precious concept” — Steven Pinker
The podcast will also feature “Expert Opinions,” interviews with leading historians and experts.
→ Disclosure: I work on FIRE’s online First Amendment Library and am also working with them on a forthcoming e-coursebook on free speech (stay tuned!).