The Front Line of Free Speech: Beyond Parrhesia in Finland's Migration Debate

25 Jan 2018

A contrast between the “fearless speech” of parrhȇsia and the professional ethics among Finland’s public-service broadcasters reveals some of the diverse forms by which free speech is pursued in contemporary liberal polities. When the so-called migrant crisis dominated its discussions in 2015, the popular “people’s radio” (Kansanradio) became a site for fresh controversies over free speech. Caught up between the parrhȇsia of both public intellectuals and bigoted listeners, Kansanradio’s editors pursued a dialogical approach to truth telling. Where parrhȇsia risks the very relationship between interlocutors, this modality of free speech rests on a carefully cultivated multivocality of viewpoints. It challenges the assumption about voice as the person’s private property in both the scholarship on parrhȇsia and some (but not all) liberal orientations.