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Who Gets to Speak

Sisonke Msimang, Lina Attalah, Bruce Shapiro

In a world of polarised politics, how do we have difficult conversations; and what are the responsibilities of those with a public platform? 

Hosted by David Speers.

In the Drama Theatre | View Seat Map

Session supported by Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Talks & Ideas | Antidote 

“If we chip away at the freedom of speech, we risk damaging a vital part of our democracy.”


Peter Greste

Public debate has never been more controversial 

In 2018, The New Yorker Festival uninvited Steve Bannon following public outcry. Roxane Gay withdrew her book from her publisher after the company gave alt right commentator, Milo Yiannopoulos, a book deal. It's one of the core cultural conundrums of our time: who gets to speak in the public sphere? Who has the right to make these decisions? In an increasingly polarised world, we must ask: how do we deal with disagreement? How can we bridge the widening cultural and political chasm? Should we shut down hate speech to protect vulnerable communities? Join us to interrogate free speech, the importance of understanding and open mindedness, and the ethics of who gets to speak.

Reviving the 'dying art of disagreement'

Antidote Festival Director Dr Edwina Throsby speaks with Board Director Mark Ryan about how the Judith Neilson Institute are igniting informed debate.

More about the speakers....

Sisonke Msimang was born in exile to South African parents and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada before studying in the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after apartheid was abolished. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She now lives in Perth, Australia, where she is the Curator – Literature & Ideas for Perth Festival 2020. 

Lina Attalah is the publisher of Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website. She has been a journalist for over a decade, covering primarily Egypt and the region, including the Syrian revolution and the Iran latest presidential elections. She was previously the chief editor of Egypt Independent, another Egyptian leading English-language news media.

Bruce Shapiro is Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism encouraging innovative reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide.An award-winning reporter on human rights, criminal justice and politics, Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation and U.S. correspondent for Late Night Live on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.

David Speers is the award winning Political Editor at Sky News and anchor of agenda-setting political programs SPEERS and SPEERS on Sunday on Sky News Live.

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