QA 7. (Sept 08) Fearless speech

Speaking truth to power refers to those brave souls who go up against some entrenched power armed only with the truth. Since democracy’s beginning, this kind of truth-speaking has been honoured. In Greek, it is called parrhesia, which Michel Foucault (Fearless Speech, Semiotext(e) 2001) has characterised as “frankness in speaking the truth”. The citizen parrhesiastes says what’s on his mind and identifies himself as the one who knows this truth that he speaks. Parrhesia finds fault with someone powerful; it is always dangerous and risky; it responds to a sense of moral duty.

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