Freedom manifesto!

The foundation of all freedom

Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is the most important of all freedoms. It is the foundational freedom upon which every other right we enjoy - from the right to vote to the right to protest - is built. Without the freedom to think, write, publish, depict and debate as we see fit, all our political and social rights become meaningless.

Masters of our own minds

Freedom of speech makes us morally autonomous. It allows us to use our moral and mental muscles, to decide for ourselves, through discussion, debate and argument, what is a good idea and what is a bad one. It makes man the master of his own mind and fate, rather than allowing the authorities to treat us as infants by determining on our behalf what we may read, think and believe.

The midwife of enlightenment

Freedom of speech is the best guarantor of getting to the truth of a matter. Where censorship discourages debate in favour of silencing the allegedly offensive or hateful opinion, freedom of speech insists on holding people to account for their beliefs and challenging their claims in the public sphere. It is the midwife of enlightenment where censorship fuels only an unquestioning approach, and ultimately ignorance.

No censorship - ever

Freedom of speech must never be restricted. No state bans, no hate-speech legislation, no libel laws, no restrictions on the press, no mob pressure on people to conform to modern orthodoxies. For attacks on freedom of speech do not only commit the bad-enough offence of preventing someone from saying what he believes - they also reduce the rest of us to the level of children through blocking our eyes and ears, degrading our moral autonomy, stifling truth-seeking, and elevating stupidity over enlightenment.

Free speech now!

Freedom of speech makes us free. It makes us fully human, through allowing our minds to work and our views to matter. We are absolutely committed to breathing life back into this essential freedom, to fighting against all forms of censorship and intolerance, to ensuring that everyone - regardless of their viewpoint - enjoys the freedom to express themselves and to enter into the truth-determining fray of public life. We want free speech now, with no ifs, buts, erming, ahhing, restrictions, restraints or delay.

support the manifesto

2010 people have signed up!

  • Jane Paterson , R. N. , AUSTRALIA

    Agree wholeheartedly.

  • Helen Dehn, voluntary librarian, Australia

    Freedom of speech is indeed the basis of a free society and should not be curtailed by anyone for any (supposed) reason.

  • MICHAEL MILLS, RETIRED BUT VERY ACITVE, AUSTRALIA

    FREE SPEECH IS AN ABSOLUTE NO EQUIVOCATION NO BOUNDARY

  • Casey Musselman, Graduate student, United States

    Free speech is an absolute.

  • Wendy Earle, Birkbeck, UK

    Real free speech is hard to defend, but defend it we must, if we are to retain our right to freedom of thought.

  • Michael Cunningham, Retired economic policy adviser; charity worker, Australia

    I heard Brendan O'Neill speak in Brisbane two days ago, and strongly support his emphasis on free speech.

  • Jim Cheetham, Ex-Serviceman, UK

    My Freedom of Speech does not end at your feelings.

  • Roger Schaeffer, Laborer, USA

    As a Advocate of Free Speech I support the USA First Amendment-The Right T0oFree Speech and Free Speech Rights Worldwide.

  • Neil Graham, Withheld, UK

    I am appalled at how few citizens will stand up for freedom of speech, for freedom of thought and for freedom of association. This fear and apathy is how tyranny advances. We must all speak out. This campaign will be very valuable.

  • Tom Madden, Retired, United States

    Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

  • Jonathan Ajderian, UK

    Anyone who says:" I believe in Free Speech but....." is not in favour of Free Speech.

  • Peter Kidson, Computer Programmer, England

    Barring confidentiality contracts, anyone should have the right to say anything.

  • Paul Ilott, Physics Teacher, UK

    The Charlie Ebdo massacre shows the urgent need to confront and expose the hypocrisy and double standards in the West over the defence of free speech (Leveson, Grant et al take note!)

  • george sheerin, Retired Director of a Housing Association and of a Law Centre, UK

    I have three children and three grand children, nothing could be more important to their future than continued real freedom of speech and their ability to express their views without fear or opprobrium!!


Other signatories include:

Evan Thomas, USA/UK • Shane O'Neill, UK • Alex Torres, United States • Ken Fraser, Australia • Sage Chase, United States of America • Luca Bocci, United Kingdom • R Emslie, U.K. • Seph Cadiz, Canada • carli james, usa • Bernhard Blauel, London • Christopher Talbot, United Kingdom • Justine Brian, UK • Gary Russell, Australia • Ken McLaughlin, England • Shirley Dent, United Kingdom • Ged Hurst, France • Sean Holland, USA • linda doucett, canada • Tony Dear, Australia • Daniel Jooste, South Africa • Sally Hughes, UK • Ben Eshchar, Israel • Teresa Hermiz, United States • Chris Goodwin, Denmark • Catriona Pickett, Australia. • Gillian Sathanandan, UK • David Hadley, United Kingdom • Anthony ROSEMAN, United States • Peter Sammonds, England • James Mills, United Kingdom • Pesi Fonua, Tonga • Dan Clayton, UK • Max Rogozin, Russia • Richard Bassett, United Kingdom • Al  Stevens, The world... • Jeremy Cave, UK • Stephen Lawson, USA • Paul Gamal, UK • Piers Walker, United Kingdom • Christine Louis-Dit-Sully, Germany • Andy Rix, United States • Mike Robson, United Kingdom • Fred Pawle, Australia • Barry Ross, UK • Ash Bee, UK • edi vaché, United States • Jacob Negron, United States • Anne McCarthy, Australia • ken vagg, australia • Keith Lauchlan, France • Cody Kiser, United States • Kristian Niemietz, UK • Valerie Price, CANADA • James Grieve, United Kingdom • Nick Pope, United Kingdom • Steven Smyth, England • Giselle Gonzalez, Colombia • Nicholas Tate, UK • Gregory Day, Australia • Don Carter, United States • Kieran Nial, UK • yuki kappes, Germany • Christopher  Cain , United Kingdom • Jim Jordan, United States of America • Francisco Serrano, México • Shaun Forrest, U.K. • Mike Chenery, United Kingdom • Richard  Ings, UK • Dennis Gerstein, Germany • Dallas  Beaufort, Australia • Bryan Cobb, USA • Surse Pierpoint, Panama • Maoz Azaryahu, Israel • Paul Ilott, UK • Odo Saunders, United Kingdom • Michael Parsons, England • Allan Thomas, Australia • David Nicholls, England • Andy Stark, England • Fred Little, Britain • rodney smith, UK • Andrew Albury, United Kingdom • val hubbard, Spain • Simon Roguska, United Kingdom • Barry Curtis, UK • R K, USA • Jessica Dheere, USA/Lebanon • Michael McVey, UK • Trevor Poulton, australia • Mark Schmidt, Canada • James  Black, United Kingdom • Adarsh Singh, India • Sarah Scott, England • Natasha Lewis, UK • Bryan Stewart, Bulgaria • anthony  hodge, United Kingdom • david chappell, netherlands
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events

Free speech events

The First Amendment in the 21st Century: 
Reinvigorating Old Rights for New Times

Explore the crisis afflicting our core freedoms in Washington, DC, 15 October.

Get tickets

latest podcast

Latest podcast

‘I think it’s good to hear hate speech’

Jonathan Rauch on why we should embrace being offended.