Freedom of speech is more important than ever. War and growing authoritarian tendencies, new technologies and cancel culture affect the status of free speech in different ways. Over two days in May, the World Expression Forum (WEXFO) will gather some of the brightest minds globally, nationally and locally, to consider freedom of speech in the current context and ask “what can we do?”

WEXFO embrace local, national and global issues around freedom of expression, and has invited speakers from both Norway and abroad. Speakers include representatives from the UN, the EU, Amnesty International, Belingcat, PEN, Meta, politicians, local youth, writers, artists and freedom of expression advocates. They include:

  • Irene Khan, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression
  • Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General, Amnesty International
  • Christo Grozev , CEO of Bellingcat
  • Adam Bodnar, former Ombudsman of Poland and recipient of the Rafto Prize
  • Sebastian Lai, son of Apple News (Hong Kong) Jimmy Lai, who, along with The Apple Newsroom in Hong Kong, received The Golden Pen Award last year.
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark, member of Meta’s Oversight Board
  • Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission and Head of the Commission’s work on values and transparency
  • Victor Picard, professor of media policy and political economy at the Annenberg School for Communication
  • Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner, Access Now
  • Anette Trettebergstuen, Minister of Culture and Equality, Norway

These are in addition to the previously announced Nobel Laureates Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa, and last year’s recipient of the Prix Voltaire, Rasha Al Ameer, who are each fighting courageous battles for freedom of expression.

Davos of free speech

The World Expression Forum event is an inspiration internationally, nationally and locally. WEXFO will be an annual event held for the first time on 30 and 31 May 2022. It will take place in Lillehammer, Norway, in connection with the Norwegian Festival of Literature. The ambition is that this event will be just as important for the development of freedom of expression as the World Economic Forum in Davos is for the development of the world economy.