What is freedom of speech? | Amnesty International UK

Freedom of speech is the right to say whatever you like about whatever you like, whenever you like, right? Wrong.

'Freedom of speech is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, by any means.'

Freedom ofspeech and the right to freedom of expression applies to ideas of all kinds including those that may be deeply offensive. But it comes with responsibilities and we believe it can be legitimately restricted.

You might not expect us to say this, but in certain circumstances free speech and freedom of expression can be restricted.

Governments have an obligation to prohibit hate speech and incitement. And restrictions can also be justified if they protect specific public interest or the rights and reputations of others.Any restrictions on freedom ofspeech and freedom of expression must be set out in laws that must in turn be clear and concise so everyone can understand them.People imposing the restrictions (whether they are governments, employers or anyone else) must be able to demonstrate the need for them, and they must be proportionate.

All of this has to be backed up by safeguards to stop the abuse of these restrictions and incorporate a proper appeals process.

Restrictions that do not comply with all these conditions violate freedom of expression.

We consider people put in prison solely for exercising their right to free speech to be prisoners of conscience.

Any restriction should be as specific as possible. It would be wrong to ban an entire website because of a problem with one page.

These terms must be precisely defined in law to prevent them being used as excuses for excessive restrictions.

This is a very subjective area, but any restrictions must not be based on a single tradition or religion and must not discriminate against anyone living in a particular country.

Public officials should tolerate more criticism than private individuals. So defamation laws that stop legitimate criticism of a government or public official, violate the right to free speech.

Protecting abstract concepts, religious beliefs or other beliefs or the sensibilities of people that believe them is not grounds for restricting freedom of speech.

Journalists and bloggers face particular risks because of the work they do. Countries therefore have a responsibility to protect their right to freedom of speech. Restrictions on Newspapers, TV stations, etc can affect everyones right to freedom of expression.

Government should never bring criminal proceedings against anyone who reveals information about human rights abuses.

Free speech is one of our most important rights and one of the most misunderstood.

Use your freedom of speech to speak out for those that are denied theirs. But use it responsibly: it is a powerful thing.

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What is freedom of speech? | Amnesty International UK

Free Speech Quotes (167 quotes) – goodreads.com

When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendshipthough I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

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The myth of the free speech crisis | World news | The Guardian

When I started writing a column in the Guardian, I would engage with the commenters who made valid points and urge those whose response was getting lost in rage to re-read the piece and return. Comments were open for 72 hours. Coming up for air at the end of a thread felt like mooring a ship after a few days on choppy waters, like an achievement, something that I and the readers had gone through together. We had discussed sensitive, complicated ideas about politics, race, gender and sexuality and, at the end, via a rolling conversation, we had got somewhere.

In the decade since, the tenor of those comments became so personalised and abusive that the ship often drowned before making it to shore the moderators would simply shut the thread down. When it first started happening, I took it as a personal failure perhaps I had not struck the right tone or not sufficiently hedged all my points, provoking readers into thinking I was being dishonest or incendiary. In time, it dawned on me that my writing was the same. It was the commenters who had changed. It was becoming harder to discuss almost anything without a virtual snarl in response. And it was becoming harder to do so if one were not white or male.

As a result, the Guardian overhauled its policy and decided that it would not open comment threads on pieces that were certain to derail. The moderators had a duty of care to the writers, some of whom struggled with the abuse, and a duty of care to new writers who might succumb to a chilling effect if they knew that to embark on a journalism career nowadays comes inevitably with no protection from online thuggery. Alongside these moral concerns there were also practical, commercial ones. There were simply not enough resources to manage all the open threads at the same time with the increased level of attention that was now required.

In the past 10 years, many platforms in the press and social media have had to grapple with the challenges of managing users with increasingly sharp and offensive tones, while maintaining enough space for expression, feedback and interaction. Speech has never been more free or less intermediated. Anyone with internet access can create a profile and write, tweet, blog or comment, with little vetting and no hurdle of technological skill. But the targets of this growth in the means of expression have been primarily women, minorities and LGBTQ+ people.

A 2017 Pew Research Center survey revealed that a wide cross-section of Americans experience online abuse, but that the majority was directed towards minorities, with a quarter of black Americans saying they have been attacked online due to race or ethnicity. Ten per cent of Hispanics and 3% of whites reported the same. The picture is not much different in the UK. A 2017 Amnesty report analysed tweets sent to 177 female British MPs. The 20 of them who were from a black and ethnic minority background received almost half the total number of abusive tweets.

The vast majority of this abuse goes unpunished. And yet it is somehow conventional wisdom that free speech is under assault, that university campuses have succumbed to an epidemic of no-platforming, that social media mobs are ready to raise their pitchforks at the most innocent slip of the tongue or joke, and that Enlightenment values that protected the right to free expression and individual liberty are under threat. The cause of this, it is claimed, is a liberal totalitarianism that is attributable (somehow) simultaneously to intolerance and thin skin. The impulse is allegedly at once both fascist in its brutal inclinations to silence the individual, and protective of the weak, easily wounded and coddled.

This is the myth of the free speech crisis. It is an extension of the political-correctness myth, but is a recent mutation more specifically linked to efforts or impulses to normalise hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it. The purpose of the myth is not to secure freedom of speech that is, the right to express ones opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty. The purpose is to secure the licence to speak with impunity; not freedom of expression, but rather freedom from the consequences of that expression.

The myth has two components: the first is that all speech should be free; the second is that freedom of speech means freedom from objection.

The first part of the myth is one of the more challenging to push back against, because instinctively it feels wrong to do so. It seems a worthy cause to demand more political correctness, politeness and good manners in language convention as a bulwark against societys drift into marginalising groups with less capital, or to argue for a fuller definition of female emancipation. These are good things, even if you disagree with how they are to be achieved. But to ask that we have less freedom of speech to be unbothered when people with views you disagree with are silenced or banned smacks of illiberalism. It just doesnt sit well. And its hard to argue for less freedom in a society in which you live, because surely limiting rights of expression will catch up with you at some point. Will it not be you one day, on the wrong side of free speech?

There is a kernel of something that makes all myths stick something that speaks to a sense of justice, liberty, due process and openness and allows those myths to be cynically manipulated to appeal to the good and well-intentioned. But challenging the myth of a free speech crisis does not mean enabling the state to police and censor even further. Instead, it is arguing that there is no crisis. If anything, speech has never been more free and unregulated. The purpose of the free-speech-crisis myth is to guilt people into giving up their right of response to attacks, and to destigmatise racism and prejudice. It aims to blackmail good people into ceding space to bad ideas, even though they have a legitimate right to refuse. And it is a myth that demands, in turn, its own silencing and undermining of individual freedom. To accept the free-speech-crisis myth is to give up your own right to turn off the comments.

At the same time that new platforms were proliferating on the internet, a rightwing counter-push was also taking place online. It claimed that all speech must be allowed without consequence or moderation, and that liberals were assaulting the premise of free speech. I began to notice it around the late 2000s, alongside the fashionable atheism that sprang up after the publication of Richard Dawkinss The God Delusion. These new atheists were the first users I spotted using argumentative technicalities (eg Islam is not a race) to hide rank prejudice and Islamophobia. If the Guardian published a column of mine but did not open the comment thread, readers would find me on social media and cry censorship, then unleash their invective there instead.

As platforms multiplied, there were more and more ways for me to receive feedback from readers I could be sworn at and told to go back to where I came from via at least three mediums. Or I could just read about how I should go back to where I came from in the pages of print publications, or on any number of websites. The comment thread seemed redundant. The whole internet was now a comment thread. As a result, mainstream media establishments began to struggle with this glut of opinion, failing to curate the public discussion by giving into false equivalence. Now every opinion must have a counter-opinion.

I began to see it in my own media engagements. I would be called upon by more neutral outlets, such as the BBC, to discuss increasingly more absurd arguments with other journalists or political activists with extreme views. Conversations around race, immigration, Islam and climate change became increasingly binary and polarised even when there were no binaries to be contemplated. Climate change deniers were allowed to broadcast falsehoods about a reversal in climate change. Racial minorities were called upon to counter thinly veiled racist or xenophobic views. I found myself, along with other journalists, regularly ambushed. I appeared on BBCs Newsnight to discuss an incident in which a far-right racist had mounted a mosque pavement with his car and killed one of the congregation, and I tried to make the point that there was insufficient focus on a growing far-right terror threat. The presenter then asked me: Have you had abuse? Give us an example. This became a frequent line of inquiry the personalisation and provocation of personal debate when what was needed was analysis.

It became common for me and like-minded colleagues to ask when invited on to TV or radio to discuss topics such as immigration or Islamophobia who was appearing on the other side. One British Asian writer was invited on to the BBC to discuss populist rage. When he learned that he would be debating Melanie Phillips a woman who has described immigrants as convulsing Europe and refusing to assimilate he refused to take part, because he did not believe the topic warranted such a polarised set-up. The editor said: This will be good for your book. Surely you want to sell more copies? The writer replied that if he never sold another book in his life as a result of refusing to debate with Melanie Phillips, he could live with that. This was now the discourse: presenting bigotry and then the defence of bigotry as a debate from which everyone can benefit, like a boxing match where even the loser is paid, along with the promoters, coaches and everyone else behind arranging the fight. The writer Reni Eddo-Lodge has called it performing rage.

Views previously consigned to the political fringes made their way into the mainstream via social and traditional media organisations that previously would never have contemplated their airing. The expansion of media outlets meant that it was not only marginalised voices that secured access to the public, but also those with more extreme views.

This inevitably expanded what was considered acceptable speech. The Overton window the range of ideas deemed to be acceptable by the public shifted as more views made their way from the peripheries to the centre of the conversation. Any objection to the airing of those views would be considered an attempt to curtail freedom of speech. Whenever I attempted to push back in my writing against what amounted to incitement against racial or religious minorities, my opponents fixated on the free speech argument, rather than the harmful ramifications of hate speech.

In early 2018, four extreme-right figures were turned away at the UK border. Their presence was deemed not conducive to the public good. When I wrote in defence of the Home Offices position, my email and social media were flooded with abuse for days. Rightwing media blogs and some mainstream publications published pieces saying my position was an illiberal misunderstanding of free speech. No one discussed the people who were banned, their neo-Nazi views, or the risk of hate speech or even violence had they been let in.

What has increased is not intolerance of speech; there is simply more speech. And because that new influx was from the extremes, there is also more objectionable speech and in turn more objection to it. This is what free-speech-crisis myth believers are picking up a pushback against the increase in intolerance or bigotry. But they are misreading it as a change in free speech attitudes. This increase in objectionable speech came with a sense of entitlement a demand that it be heard and not challenged, and the freedom of speech figleaf became a convenient tool. Not only do free speech warriors demand all opinions be heard on all platforms they choose, from college campuses to Twitter, but they also demand that there be no objection or reaction. It became farcical and extremely psychologically taxing for anyone who could see the dangers of hate speech, and how a sharpening tone on immigration could be used to make the lives of immigrants and minorities harder.

When Boris Johnson compared women who wear the burqa to letterboxes and bank robbers, it led to a spike in racist incidents against women who wear the niqab, according to the organisation Tell Mama, a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the UK. Pointing this out and making the link between mockery of minorities and racist provocation against them was, according to Johnsons supporters, assailing his freedom of speech. The British journalist Isabel Oakeshott tweeted that if he were disciplined by his party for perfectly reasonable exercise of free speech, something has gone terribly wrong with the party leadership, and that it was deplorable to see [the Tory leadership] pandering to the whinings of the professionally offended in this craven way.

Free speech had seemingly come to mean that no one had any right to object to what anyone ever said which not only meant that no one should object to Johnsons comments but, in turn, that no one should object to their objection. Free speech logic, rather than the pursuit of a lofty Enlightenment value, had become a race to the bottom, where the alternative to being professionally offended is never to be offended at all. This logic today demands silence from those who are defending themselves from abuse or hate speech. It is, according to the director of the Institute of Race Relations, the privileging of freedom of speech over freedom to life.

Our alleged free speech crisis was never really about free speech. The backdrop to the myth is rising anti-immigration sentiment and Islamophobia. Free-speech-crisis advocates always seem to have an agenda. They overwhelmingly wanted to exercise their freedom of speech in order to agitate against minorities, women, immigrants and Muslims.

But they dress these base impulses up in the language of concern or anti-establishment conspiracism. Similar to the triggers of political-correctness hysteria, there is a direct correlation between the rise in free speech panic and the rise in far-right or hard-right political energy, as evidenced by anti-immigration rightwing electoral successes in the US, the UK and across continental Europe. As the space for these views expanded, so the concept of free speech became frayed and tattered. It began to become muddled by false equivalence, caught between fact and opinion, between action and reaction. The discourse became mired in a misunderstanding of free speech as absolute.

As a value in its purest form, freedom of speech serves two purposes: protection from state persecution, when challenging the authority of power or orthodoxy; and the protection of fellow citizens from the damaging consequences of absolute speech (ie completely legally unregulated speech) such as slander. According to Francis Canavan in Freedom of Expression: Purpose As Limit his analysis of perhaps the most permissive free speech law of all, the first amendment of the US constitution free speech must have a rational end, which is to facilitate communication between citizens. Where it does not serve that end, it is limited. Like all freedoms, it ends when it infringes upon the freedoms of others. He writes that the US supreme court itself has never accepted an absolutist interpretation of freedom of speech. It has not protected, for example, libel, slander, perjury, false advertising, obscenity and profanity, solicitation of a crime, or fighting words. The reason for their exclusion from first-amendment protection is that they have minimal or no values as ideas, communication of information, appeal to reason, step towards truth etc; in short, no value in regard to the ends of the amendment.

Those who believe in the free-speech-crisis myth fail to make the distinction between fighting words and speech that facilitates communication; between free speech and absolute speech. Using this litmus test, the first hint that the free speech crisis is actually an absolute speech crisis is the issues it focuses on. On university campuses, it is overwhelmingly race and gender. On social media, the free speech axe is wielded by trolls, Islamophobes and misogynists, leading to an abuse epidemic that platforms have failed to curb.

This free speech crisis movement has managed to stigmatise reasonable protest, which has existed for years without being branded as silencing. This is, in itself, an assault on free expression.

What is considered speech worthy of protection is broadly subjective and depends on the consensual limits a society has drawn. Western societies like to think of their version of freedom of speech as exceptionally pristine, but it is also tainted (or tempered, depending on where youre coming from) by convention.

There is only one way to register objection of abhorrent views, which is to take them on. This is a common narcissism in the media. Free speech proponents lean into the storm, take on the bad guys and vanquish them with logic. They also seem, for the most part, incapable of following these rules themselves.

Bret Stephens of the New York Times a Pulitzer prize-winning star columnist who was poached from the Wall Street Journal in 2017 often flatters himself in this light, while falling apart at most of the criticism he receives. For a man who calls for free speech and the necessity of discomfort as one of his flagship positions as a columnist, he seems chronically unable to apply that discipline to himself.

In his latest tantrum, just last week, Stephens took umbrage against a stranger, the academic David Karpf, who made a joke calling him a metaphorical bedbug on Twitter, as a riff on a report that the New York Times building was suffering from a bedbug infestation. (The implication was that Stephens is a pain and difficult to get rid of, just to kill the punchline completely.)

Stephens was alerted to the tweet, then wrote to Karpf, his provost, and the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, where Karpf is a professor. He in effect asked to speak to Karpfs managers so that he could report on a man he doesnt know, who made a mild joke about him that would otherwise have been lost in the ether of the internet because well, because, how dare he? The powerful dont have to suffer the necessity of discomfort; its only those further down the food chain who must bear the moral burden of tolerance of abusive speech. Stephenss opponents who include Arabs, whose minds Stephens called diseased, and Palestinians, who are en masse one single mosquito frozen in amber must bear it all with good grace.

Stephens has a long record of demanding respect when he refuses to treat others with the same. In response to an objection that the New York Times had published an article about a Nazi that seemed too sympathetic, he wrote: A newspaper, after all, isnt supposed to be a form of mental comfort food. We are not an advocacy group, a support network, a cheering section, or a church affirming a particular faith except, that is, a faith in hard and relentless questioning. He called disagreement a dying art. This was particularly rich from someone who at one time left social media because it was too shouty, only to return sporadically to hurl insults at his critics.

In June 2017, Stephens publicly forswore Twitter, saying that the medium debased politics and that he would intercede only to say nice things about the writing I admire, the people I like and the music I love.

He popped up again to call ex-Obama aide Tommy Vietor an asshole (a tweet he later deleted after it was flagged as inappropriate by the New York Times). In response to a tweet by a Times colleague (who had himself deleted a comment after receiving flack for it, and admitted that it had not been well crafted), Stephens said: This. Is. Insane. And must stop. And there is nothing wrong with your original tweet, @EricLiptonNYT. And there is something deeply psychologically wrong with people who think there is. And fascistic. And yes Im still on Twitter.

A dying art indeed. Stephens again deactivated his account after bedbug-gate, retreating to the safe space of the high security towers of the New York Times where, I am told, the bedbug infestation remains unvanquished.

Stephens is a promoter of the free speech crisis myth. It is one that journalists, academics and political writers have found useful in chilling dissent. The free-speech-crisis myth serves many purposes. Often it is erected as a moral shield for risible ideas a shield that some members of the media are bamboozled into raising because of their inability to look past their commitment to free speech in the abstract.

Trolling has become an industry. It is now a sort of lucrative contact sport, where insults and lies are hurled around on television, radio, online and in the printed press. CNNs coverage of the Trump transition, after Donald Trump was elected as US president, was a modern version of a medieval freak show. Step right up and gawk at Richard Spencer, the Trump supporter and head of far-right thinktank the National Policy Institute, as he questions whether Jews are people at all, or instead soulless golem. And at the black Trump surrogate who thinks Hillary Clinton started the war in Syria. And at Corey Lewandowski, a man who appeared on CNN as a political commentator, who appears to make a living from lying in the media, and who alleged that the Trump birther story, in which Trump claimed that Barack Obama was not born on US soil, was in fact started by Hillary Clinton.

In pursuit of ratings from behind a freedom of speech figleaf, and perhaps with the good intention of balance on the part of some many media platforms have detoxified the kind of extreme or untruthful talk that was until recently confined to the darker corners of Reddit or Breitbart. And that radical and untruthful behaviour has a direct impact on how safe the world is for those smeared by these performances. Trump himself is the main act in this lucrative show. Initially seen as an entertaining side act during his election campaign, his offensive, untruthful and pugnacious online presence became instantly more threatening and dangerous once he was elected. Inevitably, his incontinence, bitterness, rage and hatemongering, by sheer dint of constant exposure, became less and less shocking, and in turn less and less beyond the pale.

A world where all opinions and lies are presented to the public as a sort of take-it-or-leave it buffet is often described as the marketplace of ideas, a rationalisation for freedom of expression based on comparing ideas to products in a free-market economy. The marketplace of ideas model of free speech holds that what is true factually, and what is good morally, will emerge after a competition of ideas in a free, unmoderated and transparent public discourse, a healthy debate in which the truth will prevail. Bad ideas and ideologies will lose out and wither away as they are vanquished by superior ones. The problem with the marketplace of ideas theory (as with all invisible hand-type theories) is that it does not account for a world in which the market is skewed, and where not all ideas receive equal representation because the market has monopolies and cartels.

But real marketplaces actually require a lot of regulation. There are anti-monopoly rules, there are interest rate fixes and, in many markets, artificial currency pegs. In the press, publishing and the business of ideas dispersal in general, there are players that are deeply entrenched and networked, and so the supply of ideas reflects their power.

Freedom of speech is not a neutral, fixed concept, uncoloured by societal prejudice. The belief that it is some absolute, untainted hallmark of civilisation is linked to self-serving exceptionalism a delusion that there is a basic template around which there is a consensus uninformed by biases. The recent history of fighting for freedom of speech has gone from something noble striving for the right to publish works that offend peoples sexual or religious prudery, and speaking up against the values leveraged by the powerful to maintain control to attacking the weak and persecuted. The effort has evolved from challenging upwards to punching downwards.

It has become bogged down in false equivalence and extending the sanctity of fact to opinion, thanks in part to a media that has an interest in creating from the discourse as much heat as possible but not necessarily any light. Central in this process is an establishment of curators, publishers and editors for whom controversy is a product to be pushed. That is the marketplace of ideas now, not a free and organic exchange of intellectual goods.

The truth is that free speech, even to some of its most passionate founding philosophers, always comes with braking mechanisms, and they usually reflect cultural bias. John Milton advocated the destruction of blasphemous or libellous works: Those which otherwise come forth, if they be found mischievous and libellous, the fire and the executioner will be the timeliest and the most effectual remedy, that mans [sic] prevention can use. Today, our braking mechanisms still do not include curbing the promotion of hate towards those at the bottom end of the social hierarchy, because their protection is not a valued or integral part of our popular culture despite what the free-speech-crisis myth-peddlers say.

Free speech as an abstract value is now directly at odds with the sanctity of life. Its not merely a matter of offence. Judith Butler, a cultural theorist and Berkeley professor, speaking at a 2017 forum sponsored by the Berkeley Academic Senate, said: If free speech does take precedence over every other constitutional principle and every other community principle, then perhaps we should no longer claim to be weighing or balancing competing principles or values. We should perhaps frankly admit that we have agreed in advance to have our community sundered, racial and sexual minorities demeaned, the dignity of trans people denied, that we are, in effect, willing to be wrecked by this principle of free speech.

We challenge this instrumentalisation by reclaiming the true meaning of the freedom of speech (which is freedom to speak rather than a right to speak without consequence), challenging hate speech more forcefully, being unafraid to contemplate banning or no-platforming those we think are harmful to the public good, and being tolerant of objection to them when they do speak. Like the political-correctness myth, the free-speech-crisis myth is a call for orthodoxy, for passiveness in the face of assault.

A moral right to express unpopular opinions is not a moral right to express those opinions in a way that silences the voices of others, or puts them in danger of violence. There are those who abuse free speech, who wish others harm, and who roll back efforts to ensure that all citizens are treated with respect. These are facts and free-speech-crisis mythology is preventing us from confronting them.

This is an edited extract from We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent, published by W&N on 5 September and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the long read weekly email here.

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People Go Before Money. This Is About Saving Lives, Says San Juan Mayor on Pandemic in Puerto Rico – Free Speech TV

Puerto Rico announced a record $787 million financial package to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic Monday, as the islands death toll hits two with 39 cases reported.

The pandemic follows a series of devastating earthquakes in Puerto Rico earlier this year and comes as the island continues to deal with fallout from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Ricos infrastructure and killed at least 3,000.

One of the things that I think is evident, with the Trump administration and FEMA, we have to continue to remind them time and time again that we are people and that we deserve to be treated with the same sense of justice, urgency and dignity as anybody else, says DN guest, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz.

Democracy Now! produces a daily, global, independent news hour hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzlez.

Our reporting includes breaking daily news headlines and in-depth interviews with people on the front lines of the worlds most pressing issues.

On DN!, youll hear a diversity of voices speaking for themselves, providing a unique and sometimes provocative perspective on global events.

Missed an episode? Check out DN on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

#FreeSpeechTV is one of the last standing national, independent news networks committed to advancing progressive social change.

#FSTV is available on Dish, DirectTV, AppleTV, Roku, Sling and online at freespeech.org.

Amy Goodman Carmen Yuln Cruz Coronavirus COVID-19 Democracy Now! Free Speech TV Pandemic Puerto Rico

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People Go Before Money. This Is About Saving Lives, Says San Juan Mayor on Pandemic in Puerto Rico - Free Speech TV

Seares: The virus hasn’t killed Mabatid’s right to free speech — or the right’s limits – Yahoo Philippines News

FIRST, on things that Cebu City Councilor Nia Mabatid is right about the coronavirus that now afflicts community, country and the world.

[1] She is right about being free to speak out, not just "as a public official and chairwoman of the committee on health of the City Council," but as an individual citizen of the country and resident of the city. The virus has not killed free speech, not yet anyway.

[2] She has the right to be concerned about the threat of the pandemic and to disagree with the Department of Health's status report that Cebu is Covid-free.

DOH figures may not reflect the true state of health of Cebu as few tests have been made here and many results still have to be sent to Manila for confirmation. Although though not a health expert, Mabatid must have kept herself fully informed about coronavirus and the methods to attack and contain the enemy.

[3] She has the right to be impatient over what she sees as slow response of government and apathy of some Cebu residents, partly caused by the failure to know the real extent of the virus's assault as reflected in the "Covid-free" official figures that are publicized.

Given the experience of other countries that were quick and efficient and those that were not, Mabatid must have been frightened about where we were going.

Unverified, unconfirmed

But Mabatid was obviously wrong in a few other things, which happen to matter more in this time of emergency:

[1] She shouldn't have publicized what she said she heard from a doctor about the death of three patients in a hospital until they were officially confirmed to have died because of coronavirus.

The DOH procedure, which follows World Health Organization standard, was precisely set up to avoid the confusion that could result from contradictory and unverified news.

Mabatid herself qualified her post of bad news with such words as "suspected" and "unconfirmed" but the way it was presented, along with the tantalizing description "first-hand,' was enough to create some uproar.

Coming from a public official who is vice chairperson of the City Council committee on health, the post packed a wallop heavier than one from an ordinary social media user.

[2] She should've used her position in government to relay her "valuable" information to DOH, the city mayor and the City Council where it could've been assessed and perhaps used to influence changes in local strategy in the fight against coronavirus.

Unverified information could harm a public gripped with uncertainty and fear. Mabatid said she did it "for the good of Cebuanos." If it is grade-A I dossier and not fake news, as police suspect her of circulating, it would do some good if it were brought to the attention of the decision-makers, in this case the inter-agency task force and the local leaders.

The Facebook is a public market where regulators cannot stop half-lies and outright falsehoods from being displayed and circulated before they can be taken down. And even the freedom to bring out "what's on one's mind" does not include the right to defame other people, incite sedition or rebellion, or, in Mabatid's case, set off confusion or panic. The laws against those crimes must tell the councilor that freedom of speech cannot always be a defense or an excuse. Although she didn't libel anyone, she gave raw information, which during a crisis times are deemed false unless proven otherwise.

Mabatid's message

In various FB posts, including posters and video clips, Mabatid has kept repeating the message: She fears for her constituents, especially those who are poor and others not privileged. She worries about the health system not adequate to meet a deluge of infected persons; she wants to help them, which she articulates in an multimedia message that top local officials still have to duplicate. And she is helping now by using the City Council to persuade creditors to put off collection bills and by engaging in a campaign to disinfect barangay streets.

Critics may question her motive but they have no proof of ill intent in her self-advertising, which most politicians do all the time anyway. Supporters applaud what she's doing during the period of emergency but they're wary about her prattle about unconfirmed deaths.

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Seares: The virus hasn't killed Mabatid's right to free speech -- or the right's limits - Yahoo Philippines News

A Hong Kong coronavirus warning and other commentary – New York Post

Foreign desk: A Hong Kong Corona Warning

Only a week ago, Hong Kong seemed like a model for how to contain the novel coronavirus, with just some 150 cases, but now, CNNs James Griffiths notes, its providing a very different object lesson what happens when you let your guard down too soon. Many Hong Kong residents left when the city seemed destined for a major outbreak but returned when all seemed safe and they are bringing the virus back with them. In response, the city has implemented draconian new controls, which shows that quarantines and social distancing must continue well beyond the initial wave of cases, if another round of infections is to be avoided. Thats Asias latest lesson for the West: Even when it seems the coast is clear, keep your guard up.

Campaign watch: Not-So-Presidential Joe

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden had gone unseen for some time in the midst of the coronavirus crisis but after Bidens Monday public address, snarks the editorial board of Issues & Insights, his supporters might want him to go back into hiding. Biden seemed tired, had a leaden delivery, slurred his words and repeatedly stumbled in his remarks, despite reading them from a teleprompter. The contents of his speech werent any better than his delivery, either: After inviting President Donald Trump to refrain from attacking his political opponents, for one thing, Biden proceeded to preview a lengthy political attack on Trump. He ended by attempting lofty rhetoric that fell horribly flat something that characterized the entire speech.

Progressive: Cure Isnt Worse Than Disease

At The Hill, public-policy prof Stuart Shapiro cites several reasons why the economic pain from government restrictions to fight COVID-19 arent worse than the disease. For starters, much of the slowdown was happening without government intervention. The NBA ended its season and airlines canceled flights on their own, because of the economics of their businesses. Meanwhile, government can mitigate the economic damage via bills like the stimulus package. And while COVID-19 might cause only tens of thousands of deaths, there are credible estimates that the US death toll could be in the millions. Few outcomes could be more horrible than doing too little to contain COVID-19, Shapiro argues. While we can use policy to temper the economic costs, we cant use it to bring loved ones back.

From the left: A Mail-In Election Is Unlikely

Despite a pandemic-driven flurry of calls for a massive expansion of voting by mail, including legislation backed by Senate Democrats like Amy Klobuchar, its an unlikely answer now, reports ProPublicas Jessica Huseman. While it may seem an elegant solution as the United States grapples with containing COVID-19, experts say slow-moving state and county governments, inconsistent state rules and limited resources to buy essentials such as envelopes and scanners make it nigh impossible to mail ballots to 200 million registered voters by November. US jurisdictions have taken years to move to vote-by-mail six years in Washington states case. And all sides agree that mail-in ballots are the form of voting most vulnerable to fraud. Indeed, ballot-harvesting scandals, in which political operatives tamper with absentee ballots that voters have entrusted to them, have marred recent elections in North Carolina and Texas.

Libertarian: How Speech Reduces Pandemics

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese authorities muzzled dissenters, making several critics disappear. It shows, Reasons Zach Weissmuller observes, the enormous difference between a country that jails dissenting voices and a country with strong First Amendment protections. US officials, after all, also tried to downplay the crisis yet the free speech on platforms like Twitter and Facebook allowed medical professionals, technologist, epidemiologists and everyday citizens to bypass the mainstream media and the government to implore their fellow citizens to act. Conversation on social media may be chaotic and confusing, but its free, and thats a powerful weapon in this global emergency.

Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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How Christian Nationalism Is Infecting the United States – Free Speech TV

Katherine Stewart, author of "The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism," joins David Pakman to discuss religious nationalism, the so-called culture war, and much more. Stewart is an American journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters, The Atlantic, Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, The New York Observer, The Nation, The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Daily Beast, Santa Barbara Magazine, and others.

The David Pakman Show is a news and political talk program, known for its controversial interviews with political and religious extremists, liberal and conservative politicians, and other guests.

Missed an episode? Check out TDPS on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

#FreeSpeechTV is one of the last standing national, independent news networks committed to advancing progressive social change. .

#FSTV is available on Dish, DirectTV, AppleTV, Roku, Sling and online at freespeech.org

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How Christian Nationalism Is Infecting the United States - Free Speech TV

Beware Is The Message Here! – Free Speech TV

In this clip from The Randi Rhodes Show, Randi discusses Trump's calendar of lies, Paula White's campaign to make money for her church amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA's cease and desist letter to Jim Baker and more!

The Randi Rhodes Show delivers smart, forward, free-thinking, entertaining, liberal news and opinion that challenge the status quo and amplifies free speech.

Dedicated to social justice, Randi puts her reputation on the line for the truth. Committed to the journalistic standards that corporate media often ignores, The Randi Rhodes Show takes enormous pride in bringing the power of knowledge to her viewers.

Watch The Randi Rhodes Show every weekday at 3 pm ET on Free Speech TV & catch up with clips from the program down below!

Missed an episode? Check out The Randi Rhodes Show on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

#FSTV is available on Dish, DirectTV, AppleTV, Roku, Sling and online at freespeech.org

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EARN IT: The US Anti-Encryption Bill That Threatens Private Speech… – Bitcoin Magazine

Theres a new bill in the works to fight against child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and other risky services on the internet but it could come at a cost to online privacy.

Eliminating Abusive or Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) was proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and sponsored by senators from both sides of the aisle such as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The bill is also supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

However, this bill is problematic for both freedom of speech and privacy online according to Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society.

This bill is trying to convert your anger at Big Tech into law enforcements long-desired dream of banning strong encryption, argued Pfefferkorn in a blog post. Pfefferkorns detailed explanation says EARN IT appears less like a legitimate way to prevent the spread of child exploitation content and more like a covert attempt to ban end-to-end encryption, without having to ban it outright.

At the end of January 2020, a draft of the proposal was leaked and met with similar apprehension not only by Big tech juggernauts (Facebook, Google, etc.) but also their sometimes opposing counterparts, freedom of speech advocates.

Were concerned the EARN IT Act may be used to roll back encryption, which protects everyones safety from hackers and criminals, and may limit the ability of American companies to provide the private and secure services that people expect, Facebook spokesperson Thomas Richards said in a statement to the Washington Post.

Clearly, the issue could not be more sensitive. Patrick A. Trueman, president and CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, recently voiced this opinion, apparently advocating for EARN IT.

Right now, Big Tech has no incentive to prevent predators from grooming, recruiting, and trafficking children online and as a result countless children have fallen victim to child abusers on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, said Trueman.

While everyone who has publicly condemned EARN IT has also stated a universal commitment to child safety online and in the real world, many say the bills far-reaching approach to content moderation could do more harm than good by essentially eliminating private conversations across the internet, particularly on social media platforms and messaging apps.

To fully comprehend what EARN IT proposes, one needs to understand the importance of two bills passed in the 90s. These laid the groundwork for how privacy and free speech are supposed to operate for U.S. citizens.

First, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), passed in 1996, allows for the continued development of the internet as a free market and universal good for free speech. Section 230 says that online platforms or providers of interactive computer services mostly cannot be held responsible for the things their users say or do on their platforms. It uses the term mostly instead of always because platforms are still liable for exceptions that violate intellectual and federal criminal law. Essentially, this means if someone is defamed for being a fraud, that person can sue their defamer, but they cannot sue the platform for providing the space for free speech.

Second, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), passed in 1994, requires telecom providers to make their networks wiretappable for law enforcement. However, it also ensured a carve-out for encrypted messages and information services where websites, email, social media, messaging apps and cloud storage fall out of CALEAs jurisdiction.

The purpose of these carve-outs was to reach a compromise between the competing interests of network security providers, privacy advocates, civil liberties, technological growth and law enforcement. In combination, Section 230 and CALEA prevent regulation from suffocating growth and development of the U.S. information economy.

Since the 90s, more regulation has passed to undo Section 230. Section 230 has been amended since it was passed: SESTA/FOSTA, enacted in 2018, pierces providers immunity from civil and state-law claims about sex trafficking, wrote Pfefferkorn. SESTA/FOSTA is currently being challenged in federal court being unconstitutional and doing more harm than good.

There is also already a regulatory reporting scheme for online providers combatting CSAM. Also, Section 230 does not keep federal prosecutors from holding providers accountable for CSAM on their services.

While the current reporting schemes success is questionable, there is reasonable evidence to believe that EARN IT is an attempt to regulate communication on the internet more broadly.

The so-called EARN IT bill will strip Section 230 protections away from any website that doesnt follow a list of best practices, meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy, writes Joe Mullin, a policy analyst with the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

Mullin is referring to how EARN IT would target CSAM. It proposes to do this by creating a federal commission to develop a list of best practices for preventing CSAM that online platform providers would have to follow or else lose their immunity under Section 230 meaning they could be sued into bankruptcy. This commission would largely be made up of law enforcement and allied groups such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

According to Mullin, The best practices list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption and guarantee law enforcement legal access to any digital message.

Although the word encryption does not appear anywhere in the EARN IT bill, Mullin is suspicious of how the federal commission might design best practices. For instance, in an earlier draft of the bill, the NCMEC Vice-President stated that online services should be made to screen all messages using screening technology approved by themselves and law enforcement, report what they find in messages to the NCMEC and be held legally responsible for the content of the messages sent by others.

In short, the commission could quietly give backdoor access to all U.S. hosted information services, undoing encrypted messages altogether.

Mullin, Pfefferkorn and other outspoken critics of EARN IT all agree that the bills proposed execution is opening the door for the elimination of encryption: the fact that it is never explicitly addressed is especially concerning..

According to Mullin, its also possible that the current draft of EARN IT will be amended to undo the damage it could do to online privacy. Could be as straightforward as putting a clause in[,] saying the bill doesnt apply to encryption, he writes.

However, until some amendment occurs, critics are wary of a federal commission consisting of fewer than twenty people, according to the latest reports, who would be making large-scale privacy and security decisions for the entire U.S. population.

Such a potentially big power grab would seem a bit ridiculous, but Pfefferkorn also acknowledged that EARN IT rides on a wave of resentment or techlash the U.S. population has begun to harbor against many internet-based companies. This animosity is directed toward both U.S. tech juggernauts, whose business models run off of surveillance capitalism and online free speech platforms which, for the average person, can feel like the concentrated font of human venality every time we open our phones, according to Pfefferkorn.

In general, free speech on social media platforms is already a nuanced and complicated topic. Even under Section 230, social media platforms can still censor content when they deem it inappropriate internally. For example, Twitter has a keyword blacklist and the protocol for how it works can change on a dime.

For Nozomi Hayase, social psychologist and writer, surveillance of encrypted messaging is a movement toward forfeiting democracy. By Hayases reasoning, privacy is a prerequisite for a kind of solitude that allows people to think and act independently and is, therefore, essential to a functioning democratic society.

Democracy requires sovereign individuals who are able to communicate with one another freely. This freedom comes with great responsibility, said Hayase, who recognized EARN IT as the newest installment of a dangerous trend toward online censorship. If we really want to have a truly democratic society, we have to accept the fact that it is the duty of each person to develop his or her own moral capacity to determine what is right and wrong, instead of depending on an external authority to tell us what we should or should not do.

Currently, EARN IT has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Citizens can contact their congressmen directly or take action through the Electronic Frontier Foundations website.

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EARN IT: The US Anti-Encryption Bill That Threatens Private Speech... - Bitcoin Magazine

Islamophobia, Trevor Phillips, and free speech – The Guardian

If Trevor Phillips is guilty of anything, its sophistry (Labour Islamophobia row: Warsi accuses Phillips of flawed view of race and racism, 10 March). He claims hes only acknowledging difference in his statements on Muslims, reported statements such as Muslims are not like us and are becoming a nation within a nation. But the content of said comments clearly betrays the attitude of someone using difference to discriminate unfavourably against one particular group, based on assumptions and generalisations.

To hide behind the idea of free speech compounds the error. Its no surprise to see hes comfortable doing interviews with Toby Young to promote the so-called Free Speech Union. Young is another public figure who seeks to defend his right to say anything free from consequence, as a matter of personal liberty. Surely Mr Phillips would agree that words have power you need to choose them carefully. To misunderstand that is to misunderstand the true nature of freedom. Colin Montgomery Edinburgh

The point Trevor Phillips has been making for the last full decade is that communities of race and of faith are two different sorts of identities, properly generating two different kinds of moral and legal rights and obligations, which are not simply to be collapsed into each other. This claim is dangerous, unsettling, and offensive for many who are rightly worried about very real discrimination, and in eliding race and faith thought they had the best way to address it. None of this establishes, however, that Phillips argument is wrong.

Stigmatising Phillips work through selective quotation and a collective tut-tut is a gift to fascists. It is not a step towards freedom from discrimination. It just moves us further towards explosive silence, towards camps defined by what you are allowed to say within them. You cannot win against fascism by suppressing reasoned disagreement within liberal thought.

Trevor Phillips is not Enoch Powell. He does not speak in order to win power over a racist mob. And if he fears for diverse unintended consequences of eliding race and faith, his view, while unsettling, is not without argument. People could address those arguments and perhaps think about them, rather than pointing to their evident dangers.David RobjantCople, Bedfordshire

Trevor Phillips and the Conservative party are under the spotlight because of alleged discrimination. One definition of discrimination is that it is recognition and understanding of the differences between one thing and another, such as between right and wrong, left and right, different social groups or between one religious faith and others. Rather than criticising individuals or groups for being able to distinguish the differences between one thing and another, society should applaud those who are intelligent enough to be able to discriminate between things, so society can take necessary action to address issues.

One failing of pluralism is the inability to accept irreconcilable differences between social groups or ideologies, and the fact that one may be right and the other wrong, rather than demonising those individuals or groups who are able to distinguish and discriminate as required.Jonathan LongstaffBuxted, East Sussex

The implication of Trevor Phillips comments is that the separation of some Muslim communities is the fault of those communities.

I was a sixth-form student in Accrington in 1969-71 and I joined the Labour party. I was shocked to hear the discussions of housing and the incoming populations from Pakistan and India. It was clearly the view that to house these incomers in predominantly white communities would cause problems and tensions, possibly violence. Rather than challenge the racism (in my experience, not nearly as widespread as many people claimed), many politicians, Tory and sadly numbers of Labour councillors organised housing segregation to avoid conflict. In reality they simply created separation and conflict as the children of the incomers grew up and were confronted by marginalisation and discrimination, often including police harassment.

You cant fight racism by conceding to it. Instead of demanding change from our Muslim neighbours, Trevor Phillips should condemn racism of all kinds and particularly the demonisation of Muslims. He should take a leaf out of Jeremy Corbyns book and call for support for the protest against racism on 21 March.Pete WeardenBournemouth, Dorset

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The Thom Hartmann Program Why It’s Reasonable To Fear Coronavirus Why It’s Reasonable To Fear Coronavirus – Free Speech TV

This isn't hysteria, fearing what the coronavirus can do, is perfectly reasonable, find out why here.

The Thom Hartmann Program covers diverse topics including immigration reform, government intrusion, privacy, foreign policy, and domestic issues. More people listen to or watch the TH program than any other progressive talk show in the world! Join them.

The Thom Hartmann Program is on Free Speech TV every weekday from 12-3 pm EST.

Missed an episode? Check out TH on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

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Rising Up With Sonali Is Sanders The President We Need In a Covid-19 World? – Free Speech TV

In the face of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, the USs extreme wealth inequality, lack of nationalized health care system, lack of a federal paid sick leave law, and other related issues have shown the nations severe vulnerability.

In a New York Times article, Farhad Manjoo wrote, Everyones a socialist in a pandemic. But the laugh catches in your throat because the only joke here is the sick one American society plays on workers every day.

In this dangerous new world, we just happen to be in the middle of a critical primary election where one of the two front runners is a self-described democratic socialist who has been touting Medicare-for-All as the central plank of his domestic policy.

Sonali Kolhatkar asks Richard Wolff professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Is Bernie Sanders the President we need in a pandemic like this?

Wolff is an author of a number of books including Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism, Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA, and Capitalisms Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.

His latest book is called Understanding Marxism.

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Lack of Paid Sick Leave Makes It Difficult for Many Workers to Comply with CDC Advice to Stay Home – Free Speech TV

As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States passes 1,300 cases with 38 deaths, more than 30 million workers lack access to paid sick leave.

President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night, saying he will expand sick leave as part of emergency response to the virus.

But the same day, Republican senators blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to quickly pass legislation requiring employers to grant paid sick leave.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House of Representatives will debate a package of bills Thursday to give workers 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.

Labor Department data says that one in four workers have no access to paid sick leave, including two-thirds of lowest earners.

The U.S. is one of the only wealthy countries that does not require employers to offer its workers paid sick leave.

Democracy Now! speaks with Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute;

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; and economist Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Democracy Now! produces a daily, global, independent news hour hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzlez.

Our reporting includes breaking daily news headlines and in-depth interviews with people on the front lines of the worlds most pressing issues.

On DN!, youll hear a diversity of voices speaking for themselves, providing a unique and sometimes provocative perspective on global events.

Missed an episode? Check out DN on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

#FreeSpeechTV is one of the last standing national, independent news networks committed to advancing progressive social change.

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Liberals and conservatives have been getting it wrong about free speech on college campuses – GOOD

When it comes to understanding disputes over free expression on college campuses, such as speakers getting disinvited or having their speeches interrupted, conservatives tend to blame liberal professors for indoctrinating students and ostracizing those who don't agree with liberal viewpoints.

One prominent conservative organization, Turning Point USA, has gone so far as to create a database of faculty it says "discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom."

Liberals, in contrast, argue that concerns about free speech on college campuses are overblown. They also accuse conservatives of co-opting the language of free speech proponents in an effort to falsely position themselves as victims.

Our research indicates that each of these narratives is flawed. We are researchers who study political behavior, as well as strategies for business.

via Gettysburg College / Flickr

For the past year, we have been studying free expression issues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a campus that has had a number of flare-ups related to free expression in recent years. We wanted to look beyond single episodes and better understand the typical student's experience concerning free expression.

We found that students who identify with the political right do indeed face fears of being ostracized that students who identify with the left do not. However, we also found signs that right-leaning students worry at least as much about reactions from peers as from faculty.

Much of this plays out silently in classrooms at Chapel Hill and we believe at other colleges and universities throughout the nation.

It's not about professors

For our research, we sent surveys to all 20,343 students the entire undergraduate population at Chapel Hill. Two-thousand of these students (randomly selected) were offered a $10 incentive to participate in the survey. This feature helped ensure we heard from a representative cross section of students.

We received 1,087 complete responses. About half of those respondents were those who got $10 for their participation.

For each student who responded, we randomly chose one class from their schedule and asked for that particular class how many times during the semester they kept a sincere opinion related to class to themselves because they were worried about the consequences of expressing it.

We found a large liberal/conservative divide 23% of self-identified liberals said they censored themselves at least once, while 68% of self-identified conservatives did so.

You might presume that behavior by instructors is to blame for this stark difference. But the evidence we gathered does not seem to support this view.

We asked students whether their course instructor "encouraged participation from liberals and conservatives alike." Only 2% of liberal students and 11% of conservatives disagreed that the instructor did so. Similarly, only 6% of liberals and 14% of conservatives disagreed that the same instructor "was interested in learning from people with opinions that differed from the instructor's own opinions."

These are low numbers and the splits are small. They are simply not what one would expect if the narrative that liberal instructors try to indoctrinate their students were broadly true.

Fears about peers

In contrast, students reported substantially more anxiety about how their own peers would respond to expressing sincere political views and the divides between liberal and conservative students are larger. Seventy-five percent of conservative students said they were concerned that other students would have a lower opinion of them if they expressed their sincere political views in class.

But only 26% of liberal students had this concern. Forty-three percent of conservative students were concerned about a negative post on social media. Only 10% of liberal students had this concern.

Pressures that disproportionately affect right-leaning students were evident outside the classroom as well. We asked how often students hear "disrespectful, inappropriate, or offensive comments" about 12 social groups on campus. Students even those who identify as liberal acknowledged hearing such comments directed at political conservatives far more often than at any other group.

We also examined whether liberal or conservative students might be more inclined to employ obstructionist tactics, such as blocking the entrance to a public event that featured a speaker with whom they disagree. To do this in an evenhanded way, we presented students with a list of ten political opinions. Then we asked them to choose the opinion that they find most objectionable.

We chose a slate of opinions that really exist at UNC, such as ones concerning affirmative action, LGBT rights, and Silent Sam a Confederate monument that is subject of a long-running campus controversy

After students chose which opinion they found most objectionable, we asked whether it would be appropriate to take various actions toward people who hold that view. Nearly 20% of liberal respondents indicated it would be appropriate to prevent other students from hearing a campus speaker express the disliked view.

But just 3% or less of moderate and conservative respondents indicated that doing so was appropriate.

In order to better understand the typical experience of a university student, we believe it's important to go beyond singular dramatic confrontations.

The deeper story about free expression on campus, as our study shows, is not just about the shouting that takes place during high-profile incidents on campus. It's also about what students say and feel compelled to keep to themselves in lecture halls and classrooms throughout the school year.

Timothy Ryan is an associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mark McNeilly is a professor of the practice of marketing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This was first published on The Conversation "What liberals and conservatives get wrong about free expression on college campuses"

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Ask the Red Wing Police Chief: Some panhandling is free speech – RiverTowns

Ask The Chief allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

A: Thank you for your question, and if you observe suspicious activity, I always encourage individuals to call the non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 and report the observed behavior.

In the situation you describe, the parking lot is private property; therefore letting the store manager know is a good first step to ensure the individual did not receive permission to solicit at that location. Depending on the conduct/behavior, the solicitor could also be violating other laws such as disorderly conduct or stalking. Some panhandlers have also caused such fear in customers that the property owner may have trespassed the person from their property and police will be able to verify if the individual is trespassing or not.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that panhandling is a form of charitable solicitation on behalf of the individual and constitutionally protected speech. Solicitation on public property alone is not illegal. This has resulted in some communities creating laws that restrict aggressive solicitation and soliciting during hours of darkness.

City of Red Wing Code Section 6.22, which covers solicitors, applies only to those individuals that are selling a product or service, and does not cover donations of money with no exchange of goods or services. Minnesota Statute 169.22 Hitchhiking, Solicitation of Business makes it illegal to stand in a roadway for the solicitation from the occupants of vehicles.

Based on our discussion of panhandlers and solicitation, there may be different applications of the law that will apply; therefore it is always a good idea to talk with an attorney prior to participating in panhandling or solicitation. Police can also check on panhandling behavior to ensure it is compliant with local laws.

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As Bernie Sanders Remains In Race, Can Biden Be Pushed to the Left? – Free Speech TV

Sonali Kolhatkar speaks with Arun Gupta, an investigative journalist who has written for dozens of publications including the Washington Post, the Guardian, The Nation, Salon, and Raw Story.

He is also author of the forthcoming book, Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and a regular news correspondent for Rising Up With Sonali.

Despite numerous calls for him to suspend his Presidential campaign, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a speech on Wednesday remained firm.

Acknowledging his campaigns failure to garner enough votes in four of the six races on Tuesday, he lamented the idea that his rival Joe Biden had benefitted from the argument of electability in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Sanders also issued a warning to the establishment Democratic Party that it is ignoring younger voters thirsty for progressive change at its peril.

Sanders also laid out just what he would be challenging Biden on during Sundays debate in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rising Up with Sonali is a radio and television show that brings progressive news coverage rooted in gender and racial justice to a wide audience. Rising Up With Sonali was built on the foundation of Sonali Kolhatkar's earlier show, Uprising, which became the longest-running drive-time radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles hosted by a woman. RUS airs on Free Speech TV every weekday.

Missed an episode? Check out Rising Up on FSTV VOD anytime or visit the show page for the latest clips.

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#FSTV is available on Dish, DirectTV, AppleTV, Roku, Sling and online at freespeech.org.

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Our view: Now everyone wants to fight the Nazis – The Durango Herald

The ACLUs roots reach back to the National Civil Liberties Bureau, founded in 1917 to assist American conscientious objectors in World War I, which the organization definitely opposed. It also defended persons charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, and the more draconian Sedition Act of 1918, which neutered the First Amendment and was repealed in 1920. So the ACLUs roots are in its leftist orientation and, from its inception, in defending the Bill of Rights when it badly needed its own counsel.

Among the Liberty Bureaus founders was Roger Nash Baldwin, who served a year in prison for draft resistance himself in 1918 (and would go on to write an approving travel book in 1927, Liberty Under the Soviets). Baldwin did not think the Bureau was sufficiently vigorous or militant, so 100 years ago, on Jan. 19, 1920, he reconstituted it as the American Civil Liberties Union.

In the 1920s, the ACLU stood with the NAACP in fighting racial discrimination and, setting a pattern, it defended the Ku Klux Klans right to assemble, in 1923. One of its most frequent clients was the Communist Party USA, although that was a bumpy relationship: The CPUSA also attacked the ACLU for defending the free speech of conservatives, and of critics of the USSR, one of whom Baldwin became. In the 1940s, Baldwin purged the ACLU of Communists, a decision rescinded in 1968 in grand ACLU fashion.

But the organizations finest hour arrived 43 years ago, in the spring of 1977. Its membership had reached a high of roughly 300,000 when it intervened in a case in Skokie, Illinois, where the town, composed in significant part of Jews including Holocaust survivors, denied a march permit to the American Nazis.

The ACLU appealed for over a year before it finally prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court. There was bitter criticism of its taking the case, from groups such the Anti-Defamation League. Memberships and donations fell. But the ACLU maintained the First Amendment applied particularly to offensive and provocative speech.

A civil libertarian once observed that there ought to be a First Amendment club. To be admitted, you had to defend the speech rights of whomever you found most hateful.

The ACLU was that club.

Today, it has more than a million members. It ranks swelled after President Trump took office and issued an executive order suspending visitation by foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The ACLU sued. In two days, it raised more than $24 million online. In 2017, its proceeds from grants and donations nearly tripled from 2016, to more than $274 million.

That summer, it did another very ACLU thing and defended organizers of the now infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Members and chapters were displeased. In the era of the Trump Resistance, free speech no longer seemed an absolute good so much as a bourgeois legalism, as James Kirchik observes in Et Tu, ACLU? at Air Mail, the online magazine.

In 2018, the ACLU promulgated new case selection guidelines stating it will now consider such factors as the present and historical context of objectionable speech as well as the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values.

You could say it has the best of intentions and you might find yourself in agreement with much of the membership. The people of Skokie undeniably had good intentions in seeking to keep Nazis from marching on their streets. But it was as true then as it is today that free speech needs its own counsel.

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Our view: Now everyone wants to fight the Nazis - The Durango Herald

EARN IT Act threatens end-to-end encryption – Naked Security

While were all distracted by stockpiling latex gloves and toilet paper, theres a bill tiptoeing through the US Congress that could inflict the backdoor virus that law enforcement agencies have been trying to inflict on encryption for years.

At least, thats the interpretation of digital rights advocates who say that the proposed EARN IT Act could harm free speech and data security.

Sophos is in that camp. For years, Naked Security and Sophos have said #nobackdoors, agreeing with the Information Technology Industry Council that Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense.

The first public hearing on the proposed legislation took place on Wednesday. You can view the 2+ hours of testimony here.

Called the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act), the bill would require tech companies to meet safety requirements for children online before obtaining immunity from lawsuits. You can read the discussion draft here.

To kill that immunity, the bill would undercut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) from certain apps and companies so that they could be held responsible for user-uploaded content. Section 230, considered the most important law protecting free speech online, states that websites arent liable for user-submitted content.

Heres how the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) frames the importance of Section 230:

Section 230 enforces the common-sense principle that if you say something illegal online, you should be the one held responsible, not the website or platform where you said it (with some important exceptions).

EARN IT is a bipartisan effort, having been introduced by Republican Lindsey Graham, Democrat Richard Blumenthal and other legislators whove used the specter of online child exploitation to argue for the weakening of encryption. This comes as no surprise: in December 2019, while grilling Facebook and Apple, Graham and other senators threatened to regulate encryption unless the companies give law enforcement access to encrypted user data, pointing to child abuse as one reason.

What Graham threatened at the time:

Youre going to find a way to do this or were going to go do it for you. Were not going to live in a world where a bunch of child abusers have a safe haven to practice their craft. Period. End of discussion.

One of the problems of the EARN IT bill: the proposed legislation offers no meaningful solutions to the problem of child exploitation, as the EFF says:

It doesnt help organizations that support victims. It doesnt equip law enforcement agencies with resources to investigate claims of child exploitation or training in how to use online platforms to catch perpetrators. Rather, the bills authors have shrewdly used defending children as the pretense for an attack on our free speech and security online.

If passed, the legislation will create a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention tasked with developing best practices for owners of Internet platforms to prevent, reduce, and respond to child exploitation online. But, as the EFF maintains, Best practices would essentially translate into legal requirements:

If a platform failed to adhere to them, it would lose essential legal protections for free speech.

The best practices approach came after pushback over the bills predicted effects on privacy and free speech pushback that caused its authors to roll out the new structure. The best practices would be subject to approval or veto by the Attorney General (currently William Barr, whos issued a public call for backdoors), the Secretary of Homeland Security (ditto), and the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The bill doesnt explicitly mention encryption. It doesnt have to: policy experts say that the guidelines set up by the proposed legislation would require companies to provide lawful access: a phrase that could well encompass backdoors.

CNET talked to Lindsey Barrett, a staff attorney at Georgetown Laws Institute for Public Representation Communications and Technology Clinic who said that the way that the bill is structured is a clear indication that its meant to target encryption:

When youre talking about a bill that is structured for the attorney general to give his opinion and have decisive influence over what the best practices are, it does not take a rocket scientist to concur that this is designed to target encryption.

If the bill passes, the choice for tech companies comes down to either weakening their own encryption and endangering the privacy and security of all their users, or foregoing Section 230 protections and potentially facing liability in a wave of lawsuits.

Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, had this to say to CNET:

The removal of Section 230 liability essentially makes the best practices a requirement. The cost of doing business without those immunities is too high.

Tellingly, one of the bills lead sponsors, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, told the Washington Post that hes unwilling to include a measure that would stipulate that encryption is off-limits in the proposed commissions guidelines. This is what he told the newspaper:

I doubt I am the best qualified person to decide what best practices should be. Better-qualified people to make these decisions will be represented on the commission. So, to ban or require one best practice or another [beforehand] I just think leads us down a very perilous road.

The EARN IT Act joins an ongoing string of legal assaults against the CDAs Section 230. Most recently, in January 2019, the US Supreme Court refused to consider a case against defamatory reviews on Yelp.

Weve also seen actions taken against Section 230-protected sites such as those dedicated to revenge porn, for one.

In March 2018, we also saw the passage of H.R. 1865, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bill, which makes online prostitution ads a federal crime and which amended Section 230.

In response to the overwhelming vote to pass the bill it sailed through on a 97-2 vote, over the protests of free-speech advocates, constitutional law experts and sex trafficking victims Craigslist shut down its personals section.

Besides the proposed bill containing no tools to actually stop online child abuse, it would actually make it much harder to prosecute pedophiles, according to an analysis from The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. As explained by Riana Pfefferkorn, Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity, as it now stands, online providers proactively, and voluntarily, scan for child abuse images by comparing their hash values to known abusive content.

Apple does it with iCloud content, Facebook has used hashing to stop millions of nude childrens images, and Google released a free artificial intelligence tool to help stamp out abusive material, among other voluntary efforts by major online platforms.

The key word is voluntarily, Pfefferkorn says. Those platforms are all private companies, as opposed to government agencies, which are required by Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search to get warrants before they search our digital content, including our email, chat discussions, and cloud storage.

The reason that private companies like Facebook can, and do, do exactly that is that they are not the government, theyre private actors, so the Fourth Amendment doesnt apply to them.

Turning the private companies that provide those communications into agents of the state would, ironically, result in courts suppression of evidence of the child sexual exploitation crimes targeted by the bill, she said.

That means the EARN IT Act would backfire for its core purpose, while violating the constitutional rights of online service providers and users alike.

Besides the EFF, the EARN IT bill is facing opposition from civil rights groups that include the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans for Prosperity, Access Now, Mozilla, the Center for Democracy & Technology, Fight for the Future, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, the Consumer Technology Association, the Internet Association, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Earlier this month, Sen. Ron Wyden, who introduced the CDAs Section 230, said in a statement that the disastrous legislation is a Trojan horse that will give President Trump and Attorney General Barr the power to control online speech and require government access to every aspect of Americans lives.

Read my full statement on the disastrous EARN IT Act, which will give Bill Barr and Donald Trump more control over twitter.com/i/web/status/1

Wydens statement didnt specifically mention encryption, but his office told Ars Technica that when [the senator] discusses weakening security and requiring government access to every aspect of Americans lives, that is referring to encryption.

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EARN IT Act threatens end-to-end encryption - Naked Security

The Right to Dignity in Free Speech Discourse and the Case of Omar Radi – Morocco World News

Luxembourg Earlier this year, media coverage in Morocco shifted focus from street violence and rape into issues of defamation, injury, and free speech involving both ordinary citizens and persons of public interest. It honestly felt like a relief from raw knife fight images and ruthless sexual assault stories.

We read about the rapper Gnawi versus law enforcement officers, Mol Kaskita and his Youtube videos, and later about journalist Omar Radi versus Judge Lahcen Talfi, among a handful of other speech cases.

Though the common thread among all these cases is that they compel us to rethink how we look at free speech and the rights of others, including those we most vehemently disagree with, Omar Radi and his prosecution for tweeting negatively about a Moroccan judge is particularly interesting.

Omar Radi is not a household name like others across the Moroccan media spectrum. But for the first time in a while, Moroccan society began engaging in meaningful questions around rights, obligations, and the rule of law.

Of course, the price has been hefty. Ahead of his court appearance, in an objectively harsh measure given the nature of the liability, Radi was arrested. The justice system then reversed course, sticking to the rule of law by not criminally prosecuting Radi and set him free as he awaits trial.

The journalist rightfully received much support from different media sources out of collegial solidarity and pride for the role journalism plays in free societies. His own employer, Medias24, released a statement.

Besides the brotherhood that unites us, Omar Radi was a journalist at Medias24 and was able to make himself loved and respected during this period. He has forged strong bonds of friendship and respect with the team. He has been professional and exemplary in his work at Medias24.

And yet the statement does not address the issue at its heart. How does being loved or friendly relate to the idea of freedom of speech and rights to dignity?

The statement also quoted Karim Tazi, ahighly respected intellectual and political activist: Our country cannot avoid a major challenge. Such moments of transition are obviously sensitive and necessarily lead to excesses. In my opinion, such transitions should be managed by drawing a clear dividing line between what falls within the scope of political dialogue and what deserves repression.

Tazi continued, It is urgent that this line should become the sole recourse to violence, and that everything else should be catalogued as freedom of opinion to be dealt with through the fruitful confrontation of ideas.

By diverting the argument from its legal and ethical dimension into an ode to his character, Omars colleagues were actually doing him a disservice and depriving his cause of genuine traction and wider support.

In line with Tazis statement, there are two options to respond to Radis tweet: Either 1) call Radi names and slap him with a conspiracy theory of supporting revolutionary ideas to overthrow the system or 2) respectfully challenge Radis views through the fruitful confrontation of ideas.

Karim Tazis standpoint is premised on the classic argument that the only restriction of speech should be on speech that incites violence. This theory says any other restrictions would kill the spirit of public debate, and our free societies would, consequently, go off course towards finding the truth.

American legal theory on freedom of speech is deeply rooted in this notion. English philosopher John Stuart Mills 1859 essay On Liberty is probably the most famous literary work advocating for free speech.

The essay argues the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.

Mill elaborates on his harm principle and free speech with a story about corn merchants. The claim Corn dealers are starvers of the poor! can be condoned if written in the press, but may be subject to restriction if said to an angry mob gathered outside the corn dealers house.

Mills harm principle oversimplifies free speech and its extent. The wording of Radis tweet is a denial of Judge Lahcens dignity, regardless of how flawed Lahcens rulings are.

Radi tweeted: Lahcen Talfi, judge of the Court of Appeal, executioner of our brothers, let us remember him well. In many regimes, small arms like him came back to beg afterwards, claiming to have carried out orders. No forgetting, no forgiveness for these officials with no dignity!

When I read Lets remember him, I hear a speech to an angry mob gathered around Lahcens personal and professional space. It could even put him in harms way.

Born and raised in the notorious J5 CYM neighborhood in the heart of Rabat, I know what remember means in this context. If someone says remember me, it is like serving somebody with a notice to watch out for their own safety, both hyperbolically and literally.

With such a tweet, Radi fails to hold himself accountable to Lahcen. His emotional and understandably staunch disagreement with the judges rulings cannot legitimize his harmful behavior.

As much as I would like to defend him, Omar Radi named and shamed a judge, a private citizen exercising a public service.

Was the judge doing a good job? It is definitely an open question, and everybody is entitled to participate in the debate on the efficiency of Moroccos legal system.

Some people might argue that the judge is the center of his court, and criticizing him is a critique of the court.

Here we need to set the record straight. We have to distinguish between a person of public interest and a private citizen. Judge Lahcen cannot, even remotely, be compared to the likes of former Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane, agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch or any similar public figure.

Those people made a choice to be publicly exposed. They do and say things subject to the rules of public debate. Such rules allow heated conversations, naming and shaming, hyperbolic accusations, etc., as part of democratically-open debates.

But those very rules do not apply when the same public figures leave politics or public space, once and for all.

A case in point was an incident involving Benkirane and a member of Rally of Independents (RNI) party led by Akhannouch.

We were all entertained by the sharp words, insults, and accusations against Benkirane. As far as I can tell, nobody was sued for defamation or injury, since Benkirane was fully aware that his job does not guarantee him a good name.

Likewise, then Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi called RNI party members at a rally in Tangier mortazika, meaning scroungers, or people who seek to make money at the expense of others or by stealth. The members filed a defamation lawsuit against El Khalfi, asking for MAD 50,000 ($5,200) in damages per member at the rally.

The case did not gain any traction and was clearly a defensive nuisance lawsuit. The rhetoric came during the peak of politicking ahead of elections and was part of an electoral campaign run by public figures within the realm of politics.

Another case makes the distinction clearer. Shortly after Benkirane resigned as head of government, a protester insulted him through an SMS, comparing him to a mule, a despicably regarded animal within Moroccan society. The defendant received a three-month sentence, serving only two after the plaintiff pardoned him.

What is the catch? First, the defendant and the plaintiff were not political opponents having a debate, nor was Benkirane functioning as a public figure. He was a strictly private citizen, fully entitled to the rights of privacy and dignity.

Second, calling someone an animal is permissible only in the right context. Benkiranes most famous political punchline uses animal equivalencycrocodilesto describe his political opponents, and yet he has never been held accountable for that in a court of law, because the metaphor was hyperbolically used as permitted by the rules of public debate. The metaphor was meant to criticize, not to demean.

In his case, Radi could have aspired to protection by the rights society grants to journalists by upholding the standards of meaningful journalism. But his amateurish tweet does not mesh with an expectation to be treated as a journalist exercising his profession.

I assume Radi, as a journalist, has access to the court ruling. He could have challenged the content of it rather than insinuating an uncalled-for revolution, especially because journalists should reflect the truth that an ordinary citizen might not be able to see.

Free speech is a mixed bag, and saying all speech in that bag is protected can be misleading. When we have cases like Omar Radis, journalists are no longer the watchers of our problems. They become the problem.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News editorial views.

Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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The Right to Dignity in Free Speech Discourse and the Case of Omar Radi - Morocco World News

David French gives a talk on free speech – Daily Northwestern


David French spoke about free speech on college campuses.

Owen Stidman/Daily Senior Staffer

David French spoke about free speech on college campuses.

Owen Stidman/Daily Senior Staffer

Owen Stidman/Daily Senior Staffer

David French spoke about free speech on college campuses.

David French spoke about the First Amendment clash on college campuses on Tuesday in Seabury Hall.

French was invited by Northwestern College Republicans. He is an attorney, an Iraq War veteran, and is currently the senior editor at the online political magazine, The Dispatch.

French spoke about the culture of enmity that is arising in the country, particularly on college campuses. He said people are clustering into like-minded enclaves, which leads to the growth of their common viewpoint.

I want people to understand that free speech is fundamentally part of our social compact, he said.

He added that the countrys population is becoming increasingly negatively polarized, as people join political parties due to hatred of the other side rather than support of their own. Despite the decrease in government censorship over the past 20 years, French said, people are more afraid to speak up than ever because the pressure to suppress ones views is coming from their peers as opposed to top-down censorship.

McCormick junior Zachary Kornbluth, secretary of public relations for College Republicans, created advertising for the event. He said in the wake of the Jeff Sessions event, the group thought it would be relevant to bring in a speaker who was knowledgeable on the topic of free speech.

(We hope students will gain) an appreciation of free speech, of hearing other peoples viewpoints, he said. He isnt a supporter of Trump and I know that can kind of be a lightning rod so that may help us get our message across.

In his talk, French said if people see someone being unjustly persecuted, they should stand with the person, even if they have different views. Acts of allyship will create bonds of fellowship that the country currently lacks. When people refuse to defend the rights of others, he said, free speech becomes a power, not a right.

Weinberg sophomore Elizabeth Sperti, a legal studies major, said she gained interesting legal perspectives on the First Amendment.

(I got) an interesting take on the political aspects of free speech and how it functioned on college campuses specifically, she said.

French welcomed questions from the audience and gave anecdotes from his experiences in college and law school, when he found himself in positions where others refused to hear his point of view.

He stressed that although lawyers have won many cases against censorship and speech codes at universities, people have lost a cultural appreciation for free speech.

Free speech has been indispensable in every positive social movement in the history of the United States, and remains indispensable to those who are interested in social change, French said. And that, very fundamentally its one way that a really diverse pluralistic society hangs together is by preserving our mutual civil liberties.

Email: ariannacarpati2023@u.northwestern.edu

Twitter: @ariannacarpati1

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David French gives a talk on free speech - Daily Northwestern