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

2020 people have signed up!

  • 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 Campbell, Software Developer, United Kingdom

    The importance of free speech is ever increasing but the awareness and understanding of it is ever decreasing.

  • Bart Roozendaal, cartoonist - bartoons.co.uk, UK

    Europe needs a First Amendment. Without it the Thought Police will destroy us all.

  • Piers Walker, Retired, United Kingdom

    Without free speech we become slaves

  • Paul Warren, UK

    We need to reinforce hard won freedoms including the right to free speech, respect for others opinions and a tolerance for all views within the boundaries of civil behaviour

  • Jackson Andersen, Student, USA

    Free Speech means allowing those you disagree with to voice their opinions as freely as your own, and differentiates liberal democracies from despotic authoritarian regimes.

  • Joshua Long, Digital Marketer, United Kingdom

    "First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience."

  • Wesley Brown, Self-employed, game developer, freelance 3D Generalist., Canada

    Freedom of speech is a requirement in every facet of life.

  • Nick Etz, US

    Je suis Charlie.

  • Henry Kadoch, United States

    'Every man should think what he likes and say what he thinks.'

  • Bill Graham, Mature Student, Scotland (UK)

    Free Speech means "FREEDOM to SPEAK WITHOUT CENSORSHIP"

  • Nick Langford, UK

    The most effective means to counter a false argument is to expose it to analysis and ridicule, not to conceal and protect it.

  • Mike Robson, Retired, United Kingdom

    The constant assault on free speech in the supposed home of freedom, the UK, must not just stop, all the legislation creating speech crime passed by the political class should be repealed.

  • Kelly-Laila Al-Saleh, Freelance Graphic Designer/Art Director, United Kingdom

    I totally support the right of people to express their beliefs even if they are counter or offensive to my own. I think that's called dialogue sometimes


Other signatories include:

Sam O'Floinn, Ireland • Scott Pepe, UNITED KINGDOM • Paul Beardsell, UK • Paule Sachs, Australia • Pete North, UK • Eleonora Cavagnuolo, Italy • Stephen Birchmore, United Kingdom • Peter Riches, Philippines • Sue Fletton-Dean, United Kingdom • Roger Crisp, England • Stuart Abram, UK • Rosamund Cuckston, UK • Ernst Fliek, Netherlands • Kamran Assadi, England • Luke Appleby, UK • rob cain, UK • sarah sarah, Australia • Sanda  Bogoevici, Romania • Laura Sill, United States • Dan Williams, England • Saul Wegrzyn, United Kingdom • Antoine Junker, France • Mike Chenery, United Kingdom • Torben Dyrberg, Denmark • Neil Ross, USA • James Howell, UK • Callum McGarry, United Kingdom • Robert Biddulph, UK • Carole Traole, UK • Samuel Flores, France • Darwin Grey, England • Bryan Cobb, USA • Anon Anon, USA • Glenn Cullum, UK • Clara Cullen, UK • Lesley Ann Sharrock, Spain • Morten Wied, Denmark • Mark Till, United Kingdom • Jennie Bristow, UK • James Grieve, United Kingdom • Lætitia Sadier, UK • Anthony Mills, United Kingdom • Gino Ragnoli, United Kingdom • Caroline Kettle, United Kingdom • Michael Rouse, UK • Jarrod Green, Britain • Joe Kosterich, Australia • Stephen GOVIER, United Kingdom • Andrew Bodinger, Wales • oliver shore, United Kingdom • Teresa Hermiz, United States • edi vaché, us of a • Jeremy Bennewith, England • Daniella Sorrentino, Canada • Sue Smith, Australia • Martin Ridley, Uk • Michael Sullivan, New Zealand • Tony Eaton , South Africa • Helen Lynton, uk • Jonny Gill, UK • Alan Melville, United Kingdom • Gareth Edward  KING, Spain • Richard Cole, Australia • EJ Spurrell, Canada • Neil Graham, England • James Grieve, United Kingdom • Erwin Bauwens, Belgium • Denis O'Driscoll, United Kingdom • Mike Marsh, Australia • Leigh Cashel, Australia • Itamar Shein, UK • Jim Jordan, United States of America • Peter Blaxland, Australia • Alan Jones, England • Angus Kennedy, UK • Derrick Kardos, United States • Allan Lindqvist, Sweden • Joakim Dahlqvist, Sweden • Adarsh Singh, India • Andy Stark, England • Kevin  Morris,  • Alec Bennett, United Kingdom • Andrew Williams, Australia • Rae Mitchell, United States • Emma Webb, England • Christopher Ingham, United Kingdom • David Perks, UK • David Taylor, UK • Alex Iversen, Norway • Michael Gordon-Smith, United Kingdom • Anthony Garrood, United Kingdom • Lee Sheppard, UK • Ben Bassett, Australia • Miguel J Maxit, Argentina • Gertjan Van Damme, België • Colin Searls, UK • William Orr-Ewing, United Kingdom • Howard Sutcliffe, england • Jennifer Buckingham, Australia • Nancy McDermott, USA
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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.