Tag Archives: free speech

Comply or die: The police state's answer to free speech is brute force

Source: CounterPunch
by John W Whitehead

"Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality. This is not the language of freedom. This is not even the language of law and order. This is the language of force. Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels — federal, state and local — now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo." (07/12/17)


What attending a "green light" university taught me about free speech

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Julian Kothmann

"The number of schools abandoning restrictive speech codes is growing — FIRE granted 'green light' ratings to East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last month, bringing the number of institutions earning FIRE’s highest rating for free speech to 33 nationwide. While it remains crucial to analyze and reform illiberal speech codes, examining schools that protect students’ First Amendment rights is equally valuable. Doing so sharpens the distinction between tolerant and repressive policies, provides a goal toward which advocates can work, and illuminates the benefits free and open debate can provide students and university communities. My school, the University of Virginia, earned FIRE’s green light rating in 2010. Now, seven years later, a year at the university has provided me with insight into how UVA upholds its commitment to free speech and the impact this commitment has on students." (07/10/17)


Freedom of speech, tool for advancing liberty in Nigeria

Source: Students For Liberty
by Ojekunle Alex Aderemi

"reedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used interchangeably, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In Nigeria for example, government’s restriction of speech related to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, political correctness, public security, public order, public nuisance and oppression occur with varying limitations. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party’s opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not. Governmental and other compulsory organizations often have policies restricting the freedom of speech for political reasons, for example, speech codes at state schools." (07/09/17)


It's disadvantaged groups that suffer most when free speech is curtailed on campus

Source: The Atlantic
by Musa al-Gharbi & Jonathan Haidt

"Harvard President Drew Faust gave a ringing endorsement of free speech in her recent commencement address. There was, however, one passage where Faust asserted that the price of Harvard’s commitment to free speech 'is paid disproportionately by' those students who don’t fit the traditional profile of being 'white, male, Protestant, and upper class.' That point has been illustrated by a few recent controversies over speakers whose words were deemed offensive by some members of those non-traditional groups of students. But focusing solely on those controversies, and on a handful of elite campuses, risks obscuring a larger point: Disadvantaged groups are also among the primary beneficiaries of vigorous free-speech protections." (07/08/17)


Germany has declared war on Internet freedom

Source: spiked
by Sabine Beppler-Spahl

"On 13 June, German police raided the homes of 60 people accused of posting hateful comments on social media. The raids, taking place in 14 federal states, were part of 'a day of action against hate speech,' as the Justice Ministry described it. The first day of action took place in July last year, when the homes of 36 people were searched. This year's raids were mainly focused on people accused of expressing right-wing prejudice, but they also reportedly included two cases of ‘left-wing’ incitement and one of sexual harassment. These days of action are only the latest German clampdowns on speech deemed unpleasant or potentially dangerous." (06/29/17)


The new threat to free political speech

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Thomas Eddlem

"It’s said that tough cases make bad law. If so, Maryland’s prosecution of Dennis Fusaro and Stephen Waters for campaign finance law violations threatens to make some really bad law. The prosecutors themselves believe the case will 'justify burdening speech and associational rights' under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and article 10 of the Maryland State Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. The latter promises 'That freedom of speech and debate, or proceedings in the Legislature, ought not to be impeached in any Court of Judicature.' … One of several interesting details about the case is that none of the actions, spending or speech took place inside the State of Maryland. Prosecutors claim that Fusaro bought the phone used for the call at a Virginia Wal-Mart and had Waters set up the robocall from Virginia with a Canadian company. In short, Maryland is claiming that it can regulate political speech initiated in other states." (06/21/17)


Yes, hate speech is free speech

Source: National Review
by Rich Lowry

"With the Left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend — the Supreme Court of the United States. In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying a band federal trademark registration for the name 'The Slants,' a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. The case involves a very small corner of federal law, but implicates the broader logic of political correctness, which is that speech should be silenced for the greater good if there is a chance that someone, somewhere might be offended by it." (06/20/17)


SCOTUS strikes down rule against disparaging trademarks

Source: Hollywood Reporter

"Those of fiendish or mischievous mind will have an easier time registering trademarks after the Supreme Court on Monday decided to reject as unconstitutional a rule against disparaging ones. The high court's decision, authored by justice Samuel Alito, holds that a Lanham Act provision against such offensive trademarks is facially invalid under the First Amendment. … The free speech victory goes to Simon Tam, the Asian-American frontman for The Slants who attempted to register his rock band's name. He says he picked his band's moniker in an effort to reclaim a stereotype. After trademark examiners refused Tam's application, Tam brought a lawsuit, and in December 2015, he prevailed at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court has now affirmed the lower appeals court's opinion, which is also potentially welcome news for the NFL's Washington Redskins, whose own marks were canceled for being disparaging to Native Americans." (06/19/17)


Who's afraid of free speech?

Source: The Atlantic
by Thomas Healy

"Middlebury College’s decision to discipline 67 students who participated in a raucous and violent demonstration against conservative author Charles Murray brings closure to one of several disturbing incidents that took place on college campuses this semester. But larger disputes about the state of free speech on campus — and in public life — remain unresolved." (06/18/17)


Where's the Free Speech Party?

Source: spiked
by Mick Hume

"Since last week’s Manchester bombing, all Britain’s political leaders have repeated their commitment to defending our freedoms against terrorism. Yet when it comes to our most important liberty of all, freedom of speech, they have all surrendered already. Whatever the result of the UK General Election, the Free Speech Party will not be joining the government." (06/01/17)