How free should free speech be?

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Foreign students at Wageningen's University and Research Centre (UR) don't share the same views about freedom of expression and free speech in the Netherlands. They vary from "an example for my country" to "not applicable to us".

Moussa from Senegal says that Dutch openness is a revelation. "It's enabled me to get to know people much better," he adds. But Chung, who comes from China, says that free press is suitable for the Netherlands and Europe, but not for her country. Okenna from Nigeria fears that his people don't have enough education to deal with free press.

All the students say their time in the Netherlands has changed them. But, they add, "we'll have to adapt when we get back home". 

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