Many column inches have been devoted to ideas about who gets to be heard. The ubiquitous cry of ‘cancel culture’ is bandied around to suggest that we have a collective cultural problem with free speech, but the nature of disagreement in the public sphere suggests that the real difficulty lies elsewhere. Different platforms speak at different volumes, structural power rejects dissent and our discourse is increasingly polarised. Panelists Jeff Sparrow (Fascists Among Us: Online hate and the Christchurch massacre), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Coming of Age in the War on Terror) and journalist Kishor Napier-Raman explore the loaded ways we understand the privilege, responsibilities and dangers of public speech, with host Sophie Black.

Randa Abdel-Fattah (Australian)

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a prominent Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer, former lawyer, anti-racism advocate and Islamophobia scholar. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University researching the generational impact of the war on terror on Muslim and non-Muslim youth. Randa’s books include Coming of Age in the War on TerrorIslamophobia and Everyday Multiculturalism. Randa is the multi-award-winning author of 11 novels published in over 20 countries, including multiple translations and stage productions in the US and Australia.

Jeff Sparrow (Australian)

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a writer, editor and broadcaster. He writes a regular column for The Guardian and contributes regularly to many other Australian and international publications. Jeff is a former member of the 3RRR Breakfasters team and the immediate past editor of literary journal Overland. He is the author of a number of books, including Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorshipNo Way But This: in search of Paul RobesonTrigger Warnings: political correctness and the rise of the right and the most recent Fascists Among Us: Online hate and the Christchurch massacre.

Kishor Napier-Raman (Australian)

Kishor Napier-Raman

Kishor Napier-Raman is a reporter for Crikey. Before joining their team in 2018, Kishor was an editor at Honi Soit, an intern at The Sydney Morning Herald and a legal reporter for Justinian. He has degrees in arts and law from the University of Sydney.

Sophie Black (Australian)

Sophie Black

Sophie Black is Head of Special Projects at the Wheeler Centre where she has headed up the writers scheme The Next Chapter, the podcast scheme Signal Boost, the Walkley Award–winning podcast The Messenger and the ABC RN program Talkfest. Previously she was editor-in-chief at Private Media and editor of Crikey. She has delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as director and is Co-chair of the human rights publication Right Now.