Freedom of expression: How Free is Free? - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Nobel Peace Center
  2. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Nobel Peace Center
  3. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Nobel Peace Center
  4. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Nobel Peace Center
  5. Photo: Sara Johannessen / Nobel Peace Center
  6. Photo: Heiko Junge / Nobel Peace Center
  7. Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsson / Nobel Peace Center
  8. Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsson / Nobel Peace Center

Freedom of expression: How Free is Free?

25 Sept 2007–20 May 2008

Through all times, mankind has pushed the limits of the freedom of speech. In the fields of politics, art and religion, these limits are challenged constantly.

The exhibition was funded by the Freedom of Expression Foundation.

The exhibition’s focal point was that the freedom of speech is important, challenging and sometimes life threatening. It can be uncomfortable, remind us about the things we do not want to know about or realise – and it can also test our ability of tolerance through provocations and controversial ways of expression.

The How free is free? exhibiton addressed the freedom of speech and the dilemmas surrounding this field, aiming to add new perspectives to this ever-debated topic. Some limits in the field of freedom of speech are expressed in laws and regulations of society, some through common ethical rules, and some are our personal limitations as to what we dare and dare not say.

The visitor was presented with the history of freedom of speech. The exhibition featured cases of about 80 individuals and events that have been pivotal within this field. The cases included Anna Politkovskaja, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sami Al-Arian, Salman Rushdie and Per-Yngve Monsen.

It was able to test your own limits with regards to the freedom of expression by experiencing a digital game or quiz.

During the spring and summer season of 2009 the exhibition was on display at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

It was opened by Kadra Yusuf og Kim Friele.

Prior to the exhibition opening, a ten-day reading relay took place, where forbidden literature was read aloud. More than 200 people participated, and the reading relay was streamed online.

A seminar and a concert was held in the exhibition for Music Freedom Day, 3 March 2008, in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Center, NRK P2 and Concerts Norway. Among the artists participating was Kurdish Ferat Tunc, Zimbabwian Chiwoniso Moraire, Sami Mari Boine, Swedish Mikael Wiehe and American Kris Kristofferson. Presentor was Haddy N’jie.
Watch Kris Kristofferson and Chiwoniso Moraire sing “Circle of Sorrow” here:

The seminar How free is the Internet was a collaboration between the Nobel Peace Center, the Norwegian Board of Technology and Telenor, and was arranged in the exhibition on 5 May. Among the participants were Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Professor Jonathan Zittrain from Oxford University and the Lebanese artist and blogger Xena el-Khalil. The Iranian Internet activist Parvin Ardalan was not granted exit visa, and was prevented from participating.

A website for Norwegian school children was developed in connection with the exhibition, see