4 1/2 x 7 1/4
The aftershocks of 9/11 and the ubiquitous 'war on terror' have given new licence to censors of all stripes; 'national security' is once again invoked to justify the clipping of the coinage of civil liberties, while the rise of various forms of religious extremism is inhibiting some people's willingness to speak their minds. Censorship has not only not gone away, it is taking on new forms.
Before we can understand the means and motives of censorship, we must first know what free expression is and how it has come to constitute one of our most fundamental rights.
What are the 'classic' arguments for freedom of expression? Are these arguments still valid today? Was freedom of expression ever claimed as an absolute right? Is the state still an agent of censorship? Or has its place been taken by vast, unaccountable corporate interests?
These are just a few of the questions raised in this elegant and incisive essay at the beginning of a new century and, possibly, a new dispensation governing our right to freely express our opinions.