Conference: Thought and Truth under Pressure

A conference on current threats to public discourse, freedom of speech, and democracy

Democracy is in decline across the world. Since 2019 a majority of the world’s population has been living in authoritarian societies where freedom of thought and expression are curtailed. Writers and scientists are censored and imprisoned in an effort to suppress truth and prevent critical voices from being heard. In some countries that were recently full democracies, elected politicians have engaged in a gradual dismantling of civil rights and institutions like a free press and an independent judiciary.

Increasingly sophisticated information technology is systematically used to poison the minds of citizens with conspiracy theories, sowing distrust and division. Meanwhile, in democracies where civil rights are still intact public debate is stymied by different types of self-censoring. Journalists and politicians are increasingly under threat, receiving hateful messages and threats of violence. Others hesitate to speak out on topics that have become politically charged, fearing that their access to public debate will be cancelled. The potential of the internet as a source of knowledge is undermined by disinformation and the plurality of voices silenced by the loud and angry few. The conference brings together writers, thinkers and scientists from across the world who grapple with the challenges posed by threats to freedom of thought and expression.

Speakers: Timothy Snyder, Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu, Sofi Oksanen, Loretta Ross, Peter Pomerantsev and Arundhati Roy.

Moderators: Ingrid Carlberg and Åsa Wikforss.

You will be able to reserve tickets through a link on this webpage from 26 February.

Programme, Thought and Truth under Pressure

22 March 2023 at 9.30-17.00 CET. 

A conference about the present threats against democray and freedom of speach
Place: The Swedish Academy, the Grand Hall of the Stock Exchange Building ("Börshuset"), Gamla stan, Stockholm
Languages: English
Lecture titles will be announced later.

09.30-09.50 Welcome and introduction, Mats Malm, Permanent Secretary, Ingrid Carlberg and Åsa Wikforss, conference organizers.

09.50-10.30 Timothy Snyder

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-11.40 Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu

11.45-12.25 Sofi Oksanen

12.30-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-14.40 Cathrine Thorleifsson

14.45-15.25 Peter Pomerantsev

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-16.40 Arundhati Roy

16.40-17.00 Summary of the day

Changes in the programme may occur.
Questions about the conference: program@svenskaakademien.se