Who We Are

The Future of Free Speech is founded by the Copenhagen-based think tank Justitia in a collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Aarhus University’s Department of Political Science.

Jacob Mchangama – Executive Director

Jacob Mchangama is the founder and executive director of Justitia and a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Washington. In 2018 he was a visiting scholar at Columbia’s Global Freedom of Expression Center. He has commented extensively on free speech and human rights in outlets including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. Jacob has published in academic and peer-reviewed journals, including Human Rights Quarterly, Policy Review, and Amnesty International’s Strategic Studies. He is the producer and narrator of the podcast “Clear and Present” Danger: A History of Free Speech and the critically acclaimed book “Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media” published by Basic Books in 2022. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work on free speech and human rights.

Christian Bjørnskov – Affiliate Senior Research Fellow

Christian Bjørnskov is professor of economics at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. He is also affiliated research fellow at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) in Stockholm, Sweden. His research focuses mainly on public choice and political economy, and has featured in a wide range of journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Conflict Resolution and Public Choice. Bjørnskov’s recent research has focused on how the freedom of speech is protected after emergencies and terrorist attacks.

Natalie Alkiviadou – Senior Research Fellow

Natalie Alkiviadou’s research interests lie in the freedom of expression, the far-right, hate speech, hate crime and non-discrimination. She holds a PhD (Law) from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She has published three monographs, namely ‘The Far-Right in International and European Law’ (Routledge 2019), ‘Legal Challenges to the Far-right: Lessons from England and Wales’ (Routledge 2019) and ‘The Far-Right in Greece and the Law’ (Routledge 2022). She has published on hate speech, free speech and the far-right in a wide range of peer reviewed journals, has been reviewer for journals such as the International Journal of Human Rights, The Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights and guest editor for the International Journal of Semiotics and the Law. Natalie has over ten years experience in working with civil society, educators and public servants on human rights education and has participated in European actions such as the High-Level Group on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance. Natalie has been the country researcher for the 2019 European Network against Racism report on Hate Crime and the 2022 report on structural racism. She has drafted handbooks, strategy papers and shadow reports for projects funded by the Anna Lindh Foundation, the European Commission and the European Youth Foundation, on themes such as hate speech. Natalie is an international Fellow (2022/23) of the ISLC – Information Society Law Centre of the Università degli Studi di Milano.

Joan Barata | Senior Legal Fellow

Joan Barata works on freedom of expression, media regulation, and intermediary liability issues. He is a Senior Fellow at Justitias Future Free Speech project. He is a Fellow of the Program on Platform Regulation at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center. He has published a large number of articles and books on these subjects, both in academic and popular press. His work has taken him in most regions of the world, and he is regularly involved in projects with international organizations such as UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was the principal advisor to the Representative on Media Freedom. Joan Barata also has experience as a regulator, as he held the position of Secretary General of the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia in Spain and was member of the Permanent Secretariat of the Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities.

Suthan Krishnarajan – Affiliate Fellow

Suthan Krishnarajan is an Affiliate Fellow for the Future of Free Speech Project where he is responsible for collecting and analyzing the global survey data on freedom of speech in more than 25 countries. He is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Aarhus University focusing on regime instability in democracies and autocracies around the world historically as well as today. Currently, his primary focus is on public perceptions of undemocratic behavior in Western democracies today. His PhD dissertation won the 2019 Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD Award, and his work has been published in leading international journals such as International Studies Quarterly and Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Svend-Erik Skaaning – Affiliate Fellow

Svend-Erik Skaaning is affiliate fellow for the Future of Free Speech Project, where he will work on the opinions of ordinary citizens related to free speech. This work will be based on surveys from a broad selection of countries from all world regions. Skaaning is professor of political science specialized in comparative studies of democratization, civil liberties, and the rule of law. He is currently working on historical patterns of political regime changes. His most recent books – on the measurement of democracy and on democratic stability in times of crisis, respectively – have been published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

 

Hawley Johnson – Associate Director, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression

Hawley has over twelve years of experience in international media development both academically and professionally, with a focus on Eastern Europe. She recently worked with the award winning Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project to launch the Investigative Dashboard (ID), a joint effort with Google Ideas offering specialized databases and research tools for journalists in emerging democracies. She has a M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in International Affairs from American University.