Report: “Staggering Percentage” of Legal Content Removed from Social Platforms in France, Germany and Sweden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NASHVILLE, Tenn. May 28, 2024 —Digital regulations in France, Germany and Sweden could be stifling free expression on social media platforms, according to a new report by The Future of Free Speech at Vanderbilt University. The report, titled “Preventing ‘Torrents of Hate’ or Stifling Free Expression Online? An Assessment of Social Media […]

Human Rights Here: Article 17 of the ECHR and the Run-Down to Lenis v Greece

By Natalie Alkiviadou Introduction Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), commonly referred to as the ‘abuse clause,’ provides that: “Nothing in [the] Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the […]

Reason: Should Free Speech Pessimists Look to Europe?

By Jacob Mchangama Free speech pessimism is on the rise among America’s elites. “Free Speech Is Killing Us,” read a 2019 op-ed in The New York Times. Recently, an article in The New York Times Magazine concluded, “It’s time to ask whether the American way of protecting free speech is actually keeping us free.” George Washington University Law […]

WSJ: J.K. Rowling Is Right to Protest Hate-Speech Laws

By Jacob Mchangama Should J.K. Rowling face criminal charges for misgendering someone on social media? In March, transgender British TV personality India Willoughby reported the “Harry Potter” author to the police for posting that “India didn’t become a woman. India is cosplaying a misogynistic male fantasy of what a woman is.” Willoughby was about a month […]

The Critic: The new Irish hate speech law will do more harm than good

By Martin O’Reilly The government of the Republic of Ireland is currently proposing a new hate speech law, as part of the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, which would update the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989. It is argued the existing law, particularly on account of the presence of social media, […]

Schweizer Monat: Censorship Doesn’t Prevent Hatred

By Jacob Mchangama 2023 was a disastrous year for free speech in liberal democracies. Unfortunately, 2024 only promises to deepen the free speech recession that has been sweeping open societies for years. On October 7th 2023, Hamas operatives carried out the deadliest single attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Some 1,200 people were killed including […]

The Guardian: Democracy’s Super Bowl: 40 elections that will shape global politics in 2024

Simon Tisdall mentions The Future of Free Speech’s new research on free speech developments in 22 democracies in the report “The Free Speech Recession Hits Home‘ “The principle of free speech, essential to fully functioning democracy, is also under attack, rights campaigner Jacob Mchangama argued in Foreign Policy magazine. “Even open democracies have imposed restrictive measures to […]

Cato: Is Freedom of Expression Dangerous? No, Study Finds More Expression Helps Us Handle Conflict

Free speech scholars and advocates have written about the general decline in freedom of expression that has occurred over the past two decades. Despite great technological advances that make communicating immensely easier—social media, encrypted communications, and ubiquitous computers and cell phones—many governmental policies and public opinion around the world have soured on the importance of expression. In this recession of free speech, […]

Petition: Stop Denmark’s New Blasphemy Ban

Freedom of expression—including the freedom to mistreat religious artefacts, however crude that may be as a form of protest—is a vital cornerstone of free societies. Below, we are pleased to publish an open letter featuring many prominent signatories denouncing the Danish government’s proposal to criminalize the “improper treatment” of religious objects. By drawing attention to […]