The Swedish minister for culture and democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke, has advocated for an unfettered freedom of expression worldwide.
The minister who spoke last weekend at the Goteborg book fair 2015 in Sweden, kicked against a situation whereby Journalists are being imprisoned while authors and artists are threatened to silence.
Kuhnke while describing this development as worrisome and dangerous, disclosed that ”not so long ago, many of us felt that freedom of speech and democratic values were being strengthened in many countries where this previously had been limited. The path towards more freedom appeared to be assured. But, sadly, in the last few years we have seen the quite opposite development in many parts of the world. Freedom of speech is again being limited, by those who wish to control information and by those who wish to remain in power long after their time”
The minister, however, remarked that freedom of speech must be defended every day and every hour and should not be taken for granted.
She maintained that ”when those in power anywhere in the world, start to limit freedom of expression, we are all affected and in the end, all are on the losing side”
She opined that reading a certain book could be a life-changing experience and described a book as one of the strongest symbols of the freedom of expression.
While urging everybody to cultivate the habit of reading, she explained that ”from history we learn that dictators fear books as much as they fear individuals. Why? Because books collect our memories, they recreate the basis of our cultural identities and they live on when we die. The access to a library is a key to history. The destruction of a library is an efficient way to eliminate people’s connection to that history”