How much freedom of expression can we tolerate? [Berlin, July 8]

At 19:00 CET on the 8th July 2016, the Freiblickinstitut‘s Berlin Salon will hold a debate which looks at the limits to freedom of expression in contemporary German society.

This debate is free to attend and will take place in English. Should you happen to not be in Berlin on the 8th July, then there will also be a live stream of the event, which will appear on the Time to Talk home page on the evening of the debate.

About the debate:

When Jan Böhmermann was taken to court for his satirical poem about Erdoğan it triggered a public debate about free expression. Indeed, freedom of expression is protected in the German Constitution, however, even in liberal Germany, there are limits to the extent to which this applies. When, a couple of weeks ago, the founder of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, was fined for making xenophobic comments, only his own supporters protested against the judgement.

What differentiates the cases of Böhmermann and Bachmann? Should freedom of expression be a fundamental principle, which also applies to statements which we abhor, or are we obliged to suppress “hate speech” in order to, for example, protect minorities?

The question of to which extent free expression may be practised is one which affects the core values of a free, liberal society and which is becoming ever more urgent in these troubled times. We ask you therefore to join the Freiblickinstitut and their panelists in Berlin or online on the TTT home page on the 8th July, for a debate on how much free expression society can take.


Sabine Beppler-Spahl – Economist and Freiblickinstitut Chairwoman

Agota Revesz – Postdoctoral Researcher, Freie Universität Berlin

Kolja Zydatiss – Psychologist and Novo Argumente Editor


Please indicate your interest in attending either on Berlin Freiblick Meetup orwith an email to Sabine Beppler-Spahl.

Live streams:

This debate will be live streamed, with a stream appearing on the Time to Talk homepage on the evening of the debate. Alerts and further information about the live stream will be made available via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Event series:

This debate took place with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens Programme and was one debate of many taking place as part of an international series of debates on the same theme in cities around Europe, including Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, London, Sofia and Warsaw.


Café Manstein, Mansteinstraße 4, 10783 Berlin



Time to Talk is a young and vibrant network of European centres of debate dedicated to stimulating discussion on the key socio-political themes of the day. Established in 2011, Time to Talk has expanded to offer debates from 15 institutions in 12 different countries.