Bristol Ideas: Democracy and Freedom of Expression series

This event is part of a 2021 series on democracy and freedom of expression. Bristol Ideas are committed to looking at solutions to the great challenges that face us – what individuals, leaders, mayors, councils, governments, cities, communities, nations and others can do to support, strengthen and extend democracy and freedom of expression.

The series includes: programmes on the future of democracy, May elections, the monarchy, constitutions, English devolution, House of Lords reform, votes at 16; work exploring freedom of expression through the year; and a focus on democracy and cities in Festival of the Future City (20-21 October).

The project partners include English PEN, Prospect Magazine, the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath and the Observer. More events will be launched soon. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #FOIDemocracy and #CommonCurrency

About the speakers

Maria Ressa is a journalist and author and the co-founder and CEO of Rappler. She previously spent nearly two decades working as a lead investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN. In 2020, she was convicted of cyberlibel under the controversial Philippine Anti-Cybercrime law, a move condemned by human rights groups and journalists as an attack on press freedom.

Can Yeğinsu is a barrister practising from 4 New Square Chambers in London, where he is recognised as one of the country’s leading lawyers practising in civil liberties and human rights, commercial dispute resolution, and international law. He has acted in numerous cases for journalists and writers, as well as free speech organisations, before a range of courts, including the English Court of Appeal, the UK Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Can is as member of Maria Ressa’s international counsel team

Yeğinsu teaches two seminars at Columbia Law School on the right to freedom of expression and is Senior Fellow at the Human Rights Institute. He also teaches international law at Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, convened at the request of the UK and Canadian Governments by Lord Neuberger, former President of the UK Supreme Court. Yeğinsu is an occasional contributor to Areté, The TLS, The New York Review of Books, and Just Security.

A partnership between

What is Common Currency?

English PEN sits at the intersection of literature and advocacy, championing the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Common Currency is our centenary programme - a unique project that combines timely debates on freedom of expression, creative campaigning and a celebration of diverse voices. It seeks to ignite a national conversation around issues of freedom of expression, led by writers and readers.

Every event in our programme is inspired by one of three key themes, based on our 100-year history:

1. Free speech and democracy

2. Languages and ideas

3. Celebrating women