Free Speech

Students Bid to Ban the Anti-Ban Society

Megan Crockett | Posted 05.02.2016 | UK Universities & Education
Megan Crockett

When I chose to study at LSE I anticipated vibrant debate and a rainbow of political ideologies, all coming together to discuss our different beliefs (in a respectful way of course). But sadly this is not the case, oh no, any chance of alternative, perhaps controversial opinions are nipped well and truly in the bud, before any spark of discussion can rear its head; anything outside of the status quo seems to come with a trigger warning and offence is taken left, right and centre.

A University's Free Speech Society Might Be Banned - Because It Spoke Out Against Banning Societies

The Huffington Post UK | Lucy Sherriff | Posted 05.02.2016 | UK Universities & Education

A free speech society, set up at a London university to challenge the growing trend of censorships and "safe spaces", is facing being banned. The S...

Can Safe Spaces and Academia Co-exist?

Bradley Allsop | Posted 25.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education
Bradley Allsop

There is an important yet depressingly polarised debate raging across university campuses on both sides of the Atlantic at the moment. It concerns a plethora of policies ranging from no-platforming certain groups and speakers, banning certain university societies, demanding trigger warnings for a range of issues in lectures and in general extending the philosophy of safe spaces and the reverence of personal feelings into general university life.

Universities Should Be Dangerous Places, But Not Yet

Nick Cartwright | Posted 21.01.2016 | UK Politics
Nick Cartwright

For me the debate about whether the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford should be removed encapsulates the crux of the debate and whilst many recognise that there are things to be commended in the arguments made on both sides I find myself agreeing with both sides, at the same time.

Sick of Campus Coddling? Then Smash the NUS

Tom Slater | Posted 19.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education
Tom Slater

Many students come to university interested in understanding and changing the world. Once, student politics provided an outlet for that burgeoning, history-making impulse. But this kind of petty SU authoritarianism stifles that spirit. Argument, forthright disagreement and trying to win people over are the essence of politics. But in the ban-happy world of the SU debate isn't just dodged, it's seen as dangerous.

A Ban on Trump Would Help Nobody - and Hinder Discussions We Need to Have

David Browne | Posted 18.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education
David Browne

If we really wanted to challenge Trump's views, we would be inviting him here, and turning up to question him and show him that we don't support him - and maybe manage to change his mind just a little in the process.

90% Of Universities Are Curbing Freedom Of Speech

The Huffington Post UK | Lucy Sherriff | Posted 18.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education

Nine in 10 universities in the UK censor or regulate free speech, with more than half of campuses deemed a "hostile environment" for free speech, it h...

One Year Since Charlie Hebdo, There Remain Many Assassins Court Toujours

David Browne | Posted 11.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education
David Browne

While we certainly cannot ignore the influence of religious fundamentalism worldwide in suppressing freedom of expression, I would submit that the future of free speech in Britain will depend rather on the willingness of those who believe in free speech to stand against criminalising offensive speech for its own sake...

How Free Speech Killed the BNP

Alan Grant | Posted 11.01.2016 | UK Politics
Alan Grant

The headlines make pretty grim reading. Britain seems to be mostly underwater, the threat of Islamic terrorism prevails, an evil universe version of a Sesame Street character is alarmingly close to the most powerful office in the world and it's getting nearer to the time of the year when it feels a bit weird to watch Christmas specials.

I'm Ashamed to Be a Part of This Generation of Free Speech Deniers

Harry Howard | Posted 07.01.2016 | UK Universities & Education
Harry Howard

The most important question that must be asked on this subject is, where will it stop? If Rhodes's statue is taken down, then surely others must go? Perhaps the numerous statues of Winston Churchill that exist around the country should be taken down?

Twitter's Terms Put Feelings Over Free Speech - And It's Part of a Worrying Trend

Claudia Canavan | Posted 07.01.2016 | UK Tech
Claudia Canavan

Whether it's a bizarre chap on Twitter merrily proclaiming that women belong in the kitchen, a prominent academic who wants to ban faith schools... so long as they're not making threats, I really hope we can try to shut them down with our words, reason and logic. Not by calling for their banishment from every which platform - virtual or not.

What Does Professor's Indictment Mean For South Korea's Freedom Of Speech

Preetam Kaushik | Posted 29.12.2015 | UK
Preetam Kaushik

Concerns about press freedoms in South Korea has been an ongoing discussion throughout the years. With journalists facing legal consequences because o...

Universities Are 'Interfering With Free Speech By Banning Anything Offensive'

The Huffington Post UK | Sarah Ann Harris | Posted 21.12.2015 | UK Universities & Education

Leading academics have warned that universities are interfering with free speech by banning anything that causes offence. The "deeply worrying deve...

We Owe Britain Better Than to Try to Ban Donald Trump

Alan Grant | Posted 14.12.2015 | UK Politics
Alan Grant

Essentially, the desire to ban Mr Trump says nothing about him and says everything about the signatories. It's not that we owe him and his unconvincing hairpiece a single damn thing, we owe him no respect nor do we owe him any pleasantries... However, we do owe centuries of well-developed British principles and traditions, built on free speech and robust debate, better than taking the easy way out.

Don't Make Tyson Fury a Free Speech Martyr

Andrew Doyle | Posted 11.12.2015 | UK Sport
Andrew Doyle

So don't worry about Tyson Fury. He's an unreconstructed moron whose opinions count for nothing. And if you think I'd say any of this to his face, you must be out of your mind.

Donald Trump Showed Why We Need Unlimited Free Speech

Lukas Mikelionis | Posted 11.12.2015 | UK Politics
Lukas Mikelionis

Next time you'll hear somebody urging to censor free speech out of the fear of giving the platform to hateful views, please point to Donald Trump. How else, if not by allowing someone to speak their mind, would we know that somebody is a complete tool?

Equality 'Trumps' Unlimited Free Speech: We Must Stop the Haters

Jonathan Young | Posted 11.12.2015 | UK Politics
Jonathan Young

We are lucky that unlike in the US, the UK already legislates against hate speech, but we must not allow eloquent right-wing commentators to water it down. If we allow hate speech without recrimination then we must abandon our boast of being a fair and equal society. I guess it all comes down to the type of society we want to live in.

A Response to AC Grayling

Ed Pinkney | Posted 09.12.2015 | UK
Ed Pinkney

One of the memorable scenes of the Hunger Games trilogy - before its lacklustre final two-parter - sees Finnick facing the sharp end of Katniss' arrow, at which point he reminds the protagonist to "remember who the real enemy is". As academics and students criticise one another over free speech and insensitivity, this scene seems particularly apt.

Why Safe Spaces Are Definitely No Laughing Matter!

Alan Grant | Posted 26.11.2015 | UK Politics
Alan Grant

I've had a terrific view of the free speech versus regulated speech on campuses controversy because I'm chronologically proximate enough to student cu...

I Don't Want to Hear the Lord's Prayer in the Cinema

Bob Morgan | Posted 23.11.2015 | UK
Bob Morgan

The Church of England is threatening to take legal action against the company who place adverts in UK cinemas because they have declined to show an advert featuring the Lord's Prayer.

We Should Cherish the Burning of Cameron's Pig-Gate Effigy

Ioan Marc Jones | Posted 06.11.2015 | UK Politics
Ioan Marc Jones

The bonfire night in Lewes is just another example of Britain's innate ability to mock our leaders - and other leaders - with utter abandon. It is a crucial part of British culture. It reminds us that we live in a country where we cherish our ability to exercise freedom of expression and we are creative in the forms we exercise.

No-Platform's Benevolent Mask Isn't Just Slipping, It's Shattering

David Browne | Posted 29.10.2015 | UK Universities & Education
David Browne

If our Dear Leaders want to argue that they have a unique right to not hear views that offend them - a right which they will not extend to their opponents, and indeed cannot or else all speech would stop - then they should at least be honest about it, rather than deceiving your audience by pretending that (legal) free speech has not been replaced by speech subject to conditions...

The Pros and Cons of This Germaine Greer Issue Getting Media Attention

Payton Quinn | Posted 28.10.2015 | UK Universities & Education
Payton Quinn

At its core, this has always been about consideration for trans lives, trans issues and trans voices. Despite the other conversations it has also sparked about the power of activism, the evolution of its methods with the rise of social media, the role of universities in preserving free speech and the boundaries and limitation of free expression, I am glad that we are able to have these debates about inclusivity but I really wish that more trans women were being given the opportunity to speak right now.

Germaine Greer Had No Right to Speak at Cardiff University

Andrew Doyle | Posted 26.10.2015 | UK Comedy
Andrew Doyle

Next year we hope to disinvite more people than ever before. We've already invited a number of controversial speakers for 2016 so that we can ask them not to turn up.

The Campus Censors Are More Dangerous Than You Think

Alan Grant | Posted 26.10.2015 | UK Politics
Alan Grant

Heavyweight feminist intellectual Germaine Greer has recently attracted the ire of the Thought Police for her comments about transgender people. At ti...