What do we really want after the Charlie Hebdo crisis in Paris?

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Do we want more police and armed forces to fight extremism? That may prevent some violence – but it could also trigger more. We certainly need security services but should something more and different be done to defend free speech?

Most of us want free speech, but don’t want it to be used against minorities or disabled people, so many countries have laws against discrimination to ensure that those groups are given consideration and respect. Most of us accord the same respect to the honest doctors, nurses and school teachers who care for us and for our children. If we then add the billions of ordinary people who strive to be kind, fair and reasonable, that’s a lot of people who deserve consideration and respect. We would not normally want to see any of them harmed by insulting or abusive uses of free speech.

However a small minority of people see freedom of speech as a right to say anything to anyone. Their insults may stir upsets or anger, and then matters can progress from bad to worse. Some countries end up with senseless killings.

We cannot turn violent extremists back into people who deserve our respect, but we can change the behaviours that encourage more extremism. Reckless uses of free speech in traditional democracies have created an impression that insults and obstruction are normal and even acceptable. Politicians who want to be elected are often aggressive and insulting, causing political parties and the public to become polarised. In a growing number of countries, aggressive speeches by politicians lead to extremism and violence.

Is there a safe alternative?

Live Forum TV gives the public a safe and constructive way to relate to governments. The TV programmes can start quickly without elections and they can work alongside any government, with or without old-style democracy.

To see how Live Forum TV works watch the 5-minute video.

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