The foundation of all freedom
Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is the most important of all freedoms. It is the foundational freedom upon which every other right we enjoy - from the right to vote to the right to protest - is built. Without the freedom to think, write, publish, depict and debate as we see fit, all our political and social rights become meaningless.
Masters of our own minds
Freedom of speech makes us morally autonomous. It allows us to use our moral and mental muscles, to decide for ourselves, through discussion, debate and argument, what is a good idea and what is a bad one. It makes man the master of his own mind and fate, rather than allowing the authorities to treat us as infants by determining on our behalf what we may read, think and believe.
The midwife of enlightenment
Freedom of speech is the best guarantor of getting to the truth of a matter. Where censorship discourages debate in favour of silencing the allegedly offensive or hateful opinion, freedom of speech insists on holding people to account for their beliefs and challenging their claims in the public sphere. It is the midwife of enlightenment where censorship fuels only an unquestioning approach, and ultimately ignorance.
No censorship - ever
Freedom of speech must never be restricted. No state bans, no hate-speech legislation, no libel laws, no restrictions on the press, no mob pressure on people to conform to modern orthodoxies. For attacks on freedom of speech do not only commit the bad-enough offence of preventing someone from saying what he believes - they also reduce the rest of us to the level of children through blocking our eyes and ears, degrading our moral autonomy, stifling truth-seeking, and elevating stupidity over enlightenment.
Free speech now!
Freedom of speech makes us free. It makes us fully human, through allowing our minds to work and our views to matter. We are absolutely committed to breathing life back into this essential freedom, to fighting against all forms of censorship and intolerance, to ensuring that everyone - regardless of their viewpoint - enjoys the freedom to express themselves and to enter into the truth-determining fray of public life. We want free speech now, with no ifs, buts, erming, ahhing, restrictions, restraints or delay.
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Helen Morris, Australia
Free Speech for everyone
Nikolai Doil, Germany
"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." Mark Twain
Vincent Bate, City of London Corporation, England (No, I don't mean UK)
No bars on freedom of speech or conscience, ever!
CAROLE HERBERT, world citizen, uk
' the moment you say any idea system is sacred, whether a religious belief or secular idealogy, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible '. salmon rushdie, ' defend the right to be offended', ' OPEN DEMOCRACY 2005 totally support you........
Joshua Wii, Customer Service Representative, United States
It means I will have to hear things I don't necessarily like. But it helps create a more free society.
Alan Jones, England
Everyone should be free to say and think what they believe in. This breeds debate, not hate.
David Buckingham, Designer, United Kingdom
Free speech is non-negotiable - any other position is a self-contradiction. Freedom from coercion is the red line. No provocation justifies a gun being fired in response, not even a slap from the Pope.
Natalie Dinham LLB (Hons), Princess Noura University , Saudi Arabia
These rights have been fought for and continue to exist under a perpetual threat of interference or abolition. No if's, no but's, such allowances, and voluntary renunciations are apt to be temporary, as they are not dependant on an acknowledged right [Free Speech].
Graham Finnie, Industry Analyst, UK
"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."-- John Stuart Mill
Michael Winton, Content Creator for WTF MAgazine LLC, united states
I support free speech nothing should be censored and people need thicker skin Disagreeing =/= harassment that warrants censorship
Lynn Moll, USA • Dong Raptor, USA • Ivan Maffezzini, Italy • rob cain, UK • Colin Feltham, England • George Young, England • Tiffany Jenkins, United Kingdom • daz a lovell, uk • Bernadette Whelan, United Kingdom • Charles Macdonald, United Kingdom • Yvie Warner, Scotland • Prodos Marinakis, Australia • Alex Hatcher, UK • Ned Borninski, United States • paul martin gurnett, england • Alan Fry, England • Tara Lomas, United Kingdom • Ed Scarr, united kingdom • Bill Logan, UK • Deborah Kean, New Zealand • Slavka Sverakova, United Kingdom • Andrew James, United Kingdom • William Moore, UK • Linda Pelham, UK • Stephen Curran, United Kingdom • Robert Booth, England • Simon Wilman, England • Donald Christie, United Kingdom • Jim Jordan, United States of America • James Flynt, United States • Jonny Gill, UK • Richard Bassett, United Kingdom • Nick Riggs, United Kingdom • Alison Hardenburgh, United States of America • Andrew Cox, United Kingdom • Eleonora Cavagnuolo, Italy • Peter Beckett, United Kingdom • Josh Blodwell, United Kingdom • Shane Rea, Australia • Ian Perkins, Cambodia • Andrew Grimmett, Canada • Barrie Collins, UK • Pete Jones, England • Victor Falkengaard, Sweden • Richard Bassett, United Kingdom • Laurence Morris, UK • Dom Bradshaw, England, GB • Dominic Baron, New Zealand • Michael Heaver, • Beth ten Have, Australia • Matthew Brittain, England • Paolo Ferrara, Italy • David Hudson, United Kingdom • Philip Northfield , United Kingdom • Patrick Keeney, Canada • Daniel Shepherd, Australia • David Buchanan, Scotland • Dana Kidson, United Kingdom • george sheerin, UK • Molly Wyatt, United Kingdom • Maie-Helene Hubert, France • Alistair POPE, Australia • Lesley Ann Sharrock, Spain • Dan Johnson, Canada • Allan Gilmour, UK • Stanley Needelman, United States • Amanda Dean, UK • Tara McCormack, UK • Carolyn Nock, Australia • Anders Madsen, Prefer to be hidden • sam allibone, UK • Paul Hussey, United Kingdom • Alistair Gordon, England • Gayle MURPHY, Australia • Eleanor Binks, United Kingdom • michael scott, France • Pete North, UK • Clive Bond, Australia • Joshua Goldberg, United States • Michael Hathaway, United Kingdom • Mark Iddon, UK • Liam Deacon, United Kingdom • Hannah Baker, Australia • Greg Lahoda, Canada • Adam Conroy, Ireland • Brenda-Lee Patterson, AUSTRALIA • Shirley Dent, United Kingdom • Helen Lynton, uk • David Allen, United Kingdom • John Lalor, Ireland • Aiden Hepworth, UK • Howard Sutcliffe, england • Isaiah Roa, USA • John Little, Gt Britain • Sara Hall, United Kingdom • john price, uk
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Free speech events
Explore the crisis afflicting our core freedoms in Washington, DC, 15 October.Get tickets