Tuesday May 28, 2024

Global Censorship

The first quarter of 2024 was the FSU’s busiest yet for free speech case work and we begin by reflecting on what insight this gives us into the state of cancel culture in the UK. Moving to the global scale, The Guardian last week revealed the headlines from Article 19’s Global Expression Report 2024. According to the analysis, more than half of the world’s population cannot speak freely. We dig into the statistics for the UK and focus on the troubling longer-term trends revealed by the analysis. Over the last ten years or so, the UK has fallen from the mid-range of the ‘open’ category to the bottom with a score of 81. But we are not alone. Article 19’s report reveals how over the last decade, 6.2 billion people across 78 countries experienced a deterioration of their freedom of expression while only 303 million people across 18 countries saw improvement. We end with an article published in Spiked by one of the FSU’s founding directors and Advisory Council member, Inaya Folarin Iman. She argues that instead of claiming that hate-speech laws are being weaponised against ethnic-minority Britons, outlets such as Channel 4 News ought to do more questioning of the need for hate-speech laws in the first place. As Inaya says in the article, “If you call for censorship of so-called hate speech, it will eventually be used against you”, before concluding that “the moral of the story is that we should do away with all hate-speech laws”.

‘That's Debatable!’ is edited by Jason Clift.

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