Earlier this month, UK magazine sp!ked released their fourth annual Free Speech University Rankings. sp!ked’s report, inspired by FIRE’s own Spotlight database, rates 115 UK universities on a three-tier, Red, Amber, and Green light system.
sp!ked found 94% of UK universities censor speech in some fashion. Although this is the same percentage as last year, the composition is a marginal improvement. Red light schools dropped from 63.5% to 55%, while Amber light schools increased in the same proportion from 30.5% to 39%.
Equally troubling are several statistics in the analysis section. sp!ked found, among other things, that 10 institutions have banned certain publications, 12 institutions have banned speakers, 17 institutions have punished students for speech, and 37% of the rated institutions maintain “no platform” policies for certain kinds of speech.
It’s heartening to see activists fighting for free expression abroad. While FIRE’s Spotlight reports have noted a year-over-year reduction in the number of speech codes on our college campuses, activists for free speech in the United Kingdom have in many ways a more uphill battle, lacking, as they do, the robust protections of the First Amendment and its surrounding case law.
FIRE commends the journalists and activists at sp!ked, and recommend you read the report in full.