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We kick off the year with a very special episode: New Zealand Free Speech Union Chief Executive Jonathan Ayling in discussion with his UK and South African counterparts Toby Young and Sara Gon respectively. This inaugural meeting offers a chance to reflect on the global fight for free speech and to learn about the unique cultural challenges each un…
 
In today's special episode, Free Speech Union board members Dane Giraud and Ani O'Brien discuss the emerging narrative that now-former Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern resigned due to online abuse. Were the levels of abuse she faced unprecedented and have they been contributive to increased polarisation? Or is this a cynical attempt to limit criticism …
 
The Free Speech Union's Chief Executive Jonathan Ayling sat down with Paul Goldsmith MP, National's Justice Spokesperson, Prof. Paul Moon, a prominent historian from AUT, Dr. Michael Johnson from the New Zealand Initiative, and Prof. Ananish Chaudhuri, an economist from Auckland University at the recent Free Speech Union AGM to discuss the importan…
 
The Free Speech Union celebrated a victory with Justice Minister Kiri Allen announcing the government would be dropping proposed hate speech laws. But the single inclusion of religion means we still have a fight on our hands. Could it really soon become harder to criticise religion? In a thoughtful and far-ranging discussion, Dr. Michael Johnson (N…
 
Free Speech Chief Executive Jonathan Ayling sat down with respected journalists Janet Wilson and Yvonne van Dongen to discuss the health of the New Zealand media in regard to fostering free and open debate. Are we seeing a new bias? Is ideology polluting journalism and undermining public trust? What role or responsibility does a journalist have in …
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore and council member Dane Giraud discuss the Curia poll featured in a Herald recent piece from Left-wing commentator Bryce Edwards that found lower-socio-economic communities stood against the government's Hate Speech laws. Why is this? Weren't such laws supposedly sought by vulnerable, multicultural communiti…
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore speaks with Dr. Forough Amin about what’s happening in Iran after two months of growing protests across the country. Forough is a women's rights activist and the founder of the Iranian Women in NZ Charitable Trust. Forough discusses the dire state of civil rights in Iran, the rigid power of the regime, the i…
 
In an unexpected (but welcomed!) development, Minister of Justice Kiri Allan announced this morning that proposed hate speech laws will be all but dropped. Gone is the threat of 3-year prison terms. In fact, the sole change will be the addition of religious beliefs under a new amendment to the Human Rights Act. Free Speech Union board members Jonat…
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore talks with Daniel Ben-Ami, an author, and journalist based in London. His website "The Radicalism of Fools" https://www.radicalismoffools.com/ aims to develop a better understanding of anti-Semitism and its root causes. Daniel talks about different forms of anti-Semitism from the right and the left. He expla…
 
Following the shock announcement this morning (Sunday 30th) by Justice Minister Kiri Allen that hate speech laws are back and may be in place before next year's election, Jonathan Ayling sits down with Free Speech Union Council members Dr. Roderick Mulgan and Ani O’Brien, along with ACT Party Leader David Seymour to unpack what this means for the f…
 
In today's episode of our LOL series, Free Speech Union spokespeople Dane Giraud and Dr. David Cumin discuss the Young Greens of UoA (University Of Auckland) decision to boycott the "Baby Back Benches" debate until a set of specific demands are met. Dane and David pull apart the 7 demands that - while reading like self-parody - cloak a sinister att…
 
Jonathan Ayling, Ani O'Brien, and Dane Giraud are our first panel in the reboot of our LOL (Life Out Loud) podcast series. The team pull-apart local body elections and ask whether a low voter turnout can be put down to the multiple campaigns seeking to limit acceptable debate - we get a preview of the upcoming Free Speech Union AGM featuring Danish…
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore talks with Mark White from the US Left-wing free speech organisation Plebity (https://www.plebity.org/). Mark and Daphna discuss how the Left of the past was at the forefront of defending free speech, why that is no longer the case and why the Left shouldn't bet their money on tech billionaires like Elon Mus…
 
In something of a ‘student takeover’ of the Free Speech Union Podcast, university students Adam, Tommy, and Robbie talk about free speech from the student perspective. Tomas shares his experience of the recent Free Speech Union event at Otago University and the discussion gets philosophical as the three discuss the seemingly partisan nature of the …
 
In this week's podcast episode Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks to David Gregory, co-owner of Severin Films, an American film production and distribution company known for restoring and releasing cult films on DVD and Blu-ray. A Brit by birth David deep dives into the history of the Video Nasties (the explosion of low-budget horror…
 
Welcome to the first of a short series on speech rights in different countries. This week's podcast looks at free speech and civil rights in India, the world’s most populous democracy. In July the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy wrote that India’s flawed fragile democracy is a "criminal, Hindu-fascist enterprise that has imprisoned …
 
What does a major Mayoral candidate think of codes of conduct? Is there wide support within councils for limiting who can speak in public venues? Where do councilors draw the line between speech they consider free and beyond the pale? And is their input even warranted? On this week's roundtable discussion between a collection of incredibly diverse …
 
In this week's episode of the Free Speech Union podcast, Ani O'Brien interviews our very own Dane Giraud - a screenwriter and experienced documentary maker - on the NZ On Air funding process that produced the recent controversial documentary on the parliamentary protests made by Stuff Circuit -"Fire And Fury". Is the NZ On Air public journalism fun…
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore speaks with award-winning journalist and current Executive Director of the Maxim Institute Tim Wilson on a recent think-piece Tim wrote on abortion and the seeming prohibition against men expressing views on the topic. Join us for thoughtful exploration as to whether identity should ever preclude a person fr…
 
Join us for a recording of the Wednesday 17 August Otago University panel discussion chaired by Peter Williams on how to maintain responsible politics through free speech ft. local list MP Michael Woodhouse, ACT MP Dr. James McDowall, and local Councillor Lee Vandervis www.fsu.nz/join Support the show…
 
Censorship often ends up harming those it seeks to protect. This is sadly becoming a near unchallengeable fact when regarding gender treatment, where a contempt for any criticism or position outside of the sanctioned view has resulted in patient harm and the subsequent closure of a high-profile clinic, along with many European countries reversing t…
 
The saga of the Listener 7 academics and their questioning about mātauranga Māori in science continues. In this episode, Free Speech Union Cheif Executive Jonathan Ayling sits down with distinguished Professor Kit Fine, a British philosopher from New York University, who complained to the Royal Society regarding their conduct during the investigati…
 
In this episode of the Free Speech Union podcast, Chief Executive Jonathan Ayling sits down with Grant Guilford former Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington. Jonathan and Grant discuss the First Annual Survey on Academic Freedom conducted earlier this year which highlighted the lack of freedom many lecturers have in their own univers…
 
Did you receive our annual review? It's been an epic 12 months for the Free Speech Union! Join Jonathan Ayling - who sat down with supporters National MP Simon O'Connor, Unionist Matt McCartern, and Barrister Hanne Janes - to recap our year, discuss the ongoing fight for free speech, and why you - and good 'ole people-power - MADE OUR YEAR and rema…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud sat with Palmerston North City Councilor Orphee Mikalad to discuss the importance of free speech and alternatives to hate speech. Orphee details his family's fleeing civil war in the Congo and what it was like to campaign for a seat on the council as an African refugee. Orphee discusses the racism he has e…
 
Family First chief executive Bob McCoskrie sits down with the Free Speech Union's Jonathan Ayling to discuss the recent Supreme Court decision that saw his organisation lose their charity title. Bob and Jonathan dissect and challenge many aspects of the ruling, such as the assertion made by the Supreme Court that Family First's purpose "crossed the…
 
Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore speaks with Dr. Bryce Edwards about the causes and manifestations of contemporary political polarisation. Edwards, a well-known political scientist, lecturer in Politics at Victoria University, and long-time supporter of free speech, copped a lot of flak for his coverage of the parliamentary protests which h…
 
On this week's episode of the Free Speech Union podcast, spokesperson Dane Giraud has a long-form discussion with social activist and lifetime 'Black Power' member Denis O'Reilly. Denis talks us through what led him to join the 'Black Power' and who the majority of members were in those early years. Denis discusses Prime Minister Rob Muldoon and wh…
 
Join us for the audio-only version of our fantastic live discussion (recorded on Facebook 21st June) with Free Speech Union Council members Dr. David Cumin, Dr. Melissa Derby, and Ani O'Brien to unpack the concerns related to the recent uproar over Bethlehem College asking parents to acknowledge (but not necessarily agree with) the school's positio…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Jonathan Ayling speaks to ACT MP Dr. James McDowall about the voting down - at first reading - of his "Education (Freedom of Expression) Amendment Bill". The Bill was designed to ensure there were consequences for universities that actively inhibited free of expression without legitimate cause. But the government didn…
 
In this week's episode of the podcast Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore speaks to Nina Power - an English social critic, philosopher, and author of the new book “What Do Men Want”. Nina was previously a senior lecturer in Philosophy at Roehampton University in Britain. She writes for Telegraph, Art Review, and The Spectator and is now editin…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks with former NZ Green Party chief of staff and Wellington Mayoral candidate in 2022 Tory Whanau. Tory discusses her fascinating (and enviable!) journey that led her to a dream job in communications and eventually to the role of chief of staff with the Green Party. Tory offers insight into how the Gre…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks to former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox about the Māori presence at the recent parliamentary protests. Marama (who would be briefly trespassed by Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard) spent a number of days on the ground and offers a detailed account of the Māori presence at the protest - who they…
 
Michelle Uriarau is a founding member of Mana Wāhine Kōrero - an advocacy group of and for Māori women who took strong positions against the 'Self ID' and 'Conversion Practises Bills. One of the roadblocks to getting their message out there has been the misrepresentation of Tikanga Māori (Māori Culture) which activists have used to justify gender n…
 
Get ready for some hardcore history as Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore talks to political commentator par excellence Chris Trotter about the conditions that gave rise to Nazism. Despite Hitler taking power after being banned from public speaking - and the Nazi party itself being outlawed for two years - many today see censorship as vital i…
 
Dane Giraud and fellow Free Speech Union steering group member Ani O'Brien continue a discussion on the fallout from the cancelation of a Free Speech Union talk at AUT, focusing on the role an "Inclusion Manager' may have played in the cancelation. Common on many campuses now, these rather ironically named managers seem far more interested in exclu…
 
The Free Speech Union has had a speaking event canceled by AUT. In the first public talk in what was to kick off a nationwide lecture series, Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore was to talk about (ironically) her experiences with women's rights group 'Speak Up For Women' and being canceled by a sequence of regional councils. The reason given w…
 
Don Franks has been involved in Left-wing activism since the 1960s (starting with his opposition to the Vietnam War) and is a published author and professional musician. He was a resident at the Jerusalem commune of James K. Baxter and was involved in union activity at a major car plant. In this episode, Don talks to Free Speech Union spokesperson …
 
A worrying trend of rejecting political adverts brought the attention of the Free Speech Union to the decision-making process of NZME. Having discovered that a large percentage of shareholders back this bedrock democratic principle we sought to support them at the annual AGM where free speech was made an agenda item. But the board had a strategy to…
 
This week on our Life Out Loud (LOL) summary of a week in Free Speech in New Zealand (inspired by our newsletter), Free Speech Union spokespersons Jonathan Ayling and Ani O'Brien touch on two recent hit-jobs mounted against the Free Speech Union. In NBR a piece was written by a writer (who really should've known better) that spun off into such fant…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Jonathan Ayling speaks to friend of the Free Speech Union - National MP for Tamaki - Simon O'Conner. In a packed, thoughtful, and thought-provoking discussion, Simon discusses the government's mind-blowing decision to block a briefing from Police Commissioner Andrew Coster on the parliamentary protest, what is really …
 
In this 'Special Report' Free Speech Union member Daphna Whitmore talks to previous podcast guest Rachel Stewart about cancel culture and self-censorship following her removal from a documentary on the New Zealand dairy industry over her views on a number of completely unrelated topics. Rachel is a staunch defender of free speech. She was a columni…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud speaks to comic actor and writer Peter Rowley about working with a man who is still universally considered New Zealand's best comedian - the late Billy T James. Peter would often play the 'straight man' to Billy's gallery of cheeky characters but wrote much of the material with Billy too. So just how troub…
 
The Kashmir Files is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language drama film based on the exodus of Hindu people during the Kashmir Insurgency in 1990. It has been released in other countries with varying age restrictions. The film was awarded a rating in New Zealand and was set for release until representatives from the FIANZ (Federation of Islamic Associations o…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Jonathan Ayling sits down with National MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown to discuss Simeon's voting record on a range of controversial Bills (Safe Areas Bill/ Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill). Simeon is candid about the personal cost of taking principled stands in this polarized age and the threat of political pola…
 
Free Speech Union spokesperson Dane Giraud discusses the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr with Dr. Melissa Derby, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Waikato, Tauranga, and good friend of the Free Speech Union. Dr. Derby's admiration for the Rev. King extends back to her childhood, and in 2019, while studying i…
 
In this week's episode of our LOL (Life Out Loud) podcast summary of the Free Speech Union newsletter, spokespeople Jonathan Ayling, Dane Giraud, and Ani O'Brien dig deep into the shocking end to the anti-mandate protests. Also, Netsafe confirms they are no friend of Free Speech, 'Plain Speech' Officers look set to make Orwell's fiction a reality, …
 
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