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Virtually dictatorial or encouraging diversity? What the experts think about no-platforming

Students' unions have come under fire for banning speakers—but are they onto something? Speak to those behind the policies, as well as those who have fallen foul of them, and the answer emerges

By Peter Chappell  

Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/PA Images

One of the most popular maxims about free speech wasn’t actually said by Voltaire in the eighteenth century, but by the little-known Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a Kentish writer, in 1906. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” was how Hall pithily phrased the philosopher’s view of the importance of free speech. The Enlightenment idealism Hall’s quote captures was an important influence on the development of western political and academic culture. But does it…

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