The rapid emergence of a multipolar world and the growing political
and economic importance of a range of powers including China,
India, Brazil and South Africa is increasingly having a significant
impact on support for, and repression of, free expression. Many key
international issues, from human rights to climate change and free
trade, are no longer dominated either by one particular world view
or split simply between two rival powers. While China and Russia
remain at the repressive end of the spectrum, how widely free
speech is defended internationally depends increasingly on the
positions of countries like India and Brazil as much as on the
values and practices of the US and Europe. In all these
democracies, free speech is still in the ascendant but with too
many examples of excessive constraints from internet surveillance
and takedown requests to criminalisation of offensive speech.
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