This resounding defence of the principles of free expression revisits the Satanic Verses uproar of 1989, as well as subsequent incidents such as the Danish cartoons controversy, to argue that the human right of free speech is by no means so secure that it can be taken for granted.
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Brian Winston is the Lincoln Chair at the University of Lincoln, UK. He has an Emmy for documentary script-writing, has taught documentary in both the US and the UK, and has been involved with many international documentary film festivals and the Visible Evidence conference series. He was the founding director of the Glasgow (University) Media Group, whose pioneering studies of television news, Bad News (1976) and More Bad News (1980), have been re-issued as a classic of media sociology. He was also a founding chair of British Association of Film, Television and Media Studies and has been a governor of the BFI. In 2012, a feature-length documentary on Robert Flaherty A Boatload of Wild Irishmen which he wrote and co-produced won a Special Jury prize from the British University Council for Film and Video. His primary areas of interest are freedom of speech, journalism history, media technology and documentary film, all of which he teaches.Review:
"This is not the first account of how the Satanic Verses affair came about, but it is by far the most wide-ranging and best informed. It also includes equally authoritative accounts of numerous subsequent incidents such as the murder of the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh and the Danish cartoons controversy, which, it is convincingly argued here, need to be seen as ramifications of the Salman Rushdie case. But this is far more than simply a recital of the facts, richly detailed and highly informative though it most certainly is in this respect. For what we also have here is a resounding defence of the principles of free expression, not in the debased, self-interested and ill-informed manner in which the British press habitually defends its 'right' to do as it damn well pleases, but in highly sophisticated philosophical terms. This is a key contribution to the debate not only on the right to free expression, including the right to offend, but on media freedom in general in the post-Leveson era." - Julian Petley, Brunel University, UK
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