In the West we pride ourselves on being free to express our creativity.  But some argue this core principle is in jeopardy.  There was widespread outrage when Salman Rushdie was recently stabbed on stage having lived with a death threat for thirty years.  Rappers like Jay Z are fighting their lyrics being used to convict them in court.  While works from the past face the prospect of passages being airbrushed, including authors like Roald Dahl.  More widely every publishing house now has 'sensitivity readers' to identify and remove problematic content.  And, critics claim, authors, comedians, and artists self-censor their work to avoid public opprobrium.   

Should writers and artists be able to publish work free from the threat of retribution or vilification even if their views are offensive to some?  Or, if we are to combat prejudice and privilege is it necessary that some forms of expression are outlawed?  Is it time to reassert traditional Western liberal values, or should we see liberalism as carrying a form of authority that needs to be challenged?   

Novelist Joanna Kavenna, prominent barrister and political activist, Jolyon Maugham, and journalist and filmmaker Myriam François, debate the role of creativity and the limits of free expression. Hosted by Philip Collins.

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