Free Speech Now! is Coming to America

September 5, 2014

At Spiked

Free Speech Now!, the London-based campaign for unfettered freedom of speech, is coming to America later this Fall. We will be hosting two myth-exploding, no-holds-barred public events in New York and Washington, DC. See below for details:

‘Should even hate speech be free speech?’ – New York City

Produced in proud partnership with the National Coalition Against Censorship, a transatlantic panel featuring FIRE president Greg Lukianoff, spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, author and activist Wendy Kaminer, and former ACLU president Nadine Strossen will be questioning whether some words and ideas are just too hateful for public life. Certainly, across the Western world, there are many who seem to think that some ideas should be suppressed, with laws and strictures against hate speech spreading like wildfire. In Europe, individuals have been arrested and fined, even jailed, for criticising homosexuality in church sermons or for handing out leaflets critical of Islam. In the US, there might not be actual laws against hate speech, but the idea that hateful speech is harmful and dangerous is gaining ground, especially on campuses, where students find themselves censured for ‘harassing’ people with words and ideas. What is behind this rise and rise of hate-speech legislation and codes? And does a genuine commitment to freedom of speech mean defending the right to speak hatefully, and to say things that the majority of people will find outrageous?

Thursday 30 October, (doors open at 7pm)
Jerome L Greene Performance Space, New York Public Radio
160 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013

The debate is free to attend. To reserve a place, email: viv.regan@spiked-online.com

‘Press freedom in the twenty-first century’ – Washington, DC

Produced in association with, and hosted by, Newseum, speakers from the US and Europe at this day event will explore the state of press freedom today. In ‘Taming the messenger: the new threats to press freedom’, speakers will be looking at the tendency among many ostensibly liberal campaigners, writers and even journalists to see a free and rowdy press as a bad thing, and asking why has press freedom fallen so far out of favour, exploring how can we recover the Jeffersonian view of press freedom being essential to democracy and stability. In ‘The press in the 21st century: are we all journalists now?’, we will be looking at the flourishing online challenge to traditional journalism, and asking if the rise of so-called citizen journalism is rendering the press obsolete or more important than ever? And can the old press embrace the new technologies and developments while at the same time maintaining its devotion to investigation, analysis and story-uncovering?

Wednesday 5 November, 10am – 4pm
The Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

The event is free to attend. To reserve a place, email: viv.regan@spiked-online.com