Free speech is the bedrock on which all our other freedoms rest, yet it is currently in greater peril than at any time since the Second World War. The Free Speech Union is a non-partisan, not-for-profit membership organisation that stands up for people whose right to freedom of expression has been violated.
Not only do we pressure institutions to uphold their own free speech policies through direct challenges and media pressure, but we also litigate when we believe they’ve behaved unlawfully. This work is particularly urgent in the present climate, with people being cancelled every day for daring to challenge the latest ideological dogma.
Freedom of expression is legally protected in Britain, but that’s often forgotten by private companies and public organisations when they come under pressure to get rid of someone who’s said something people don’t want to hear. Faced with an angry mob on social media, the people at the top nearly always cave in, firing the heretic in question or forcing them to resign. Due process is forgotten and people’s careers and reputations are destroyed.
One of the best ways to protect people from mob justice is to let their bosses know that there is an organisation out there that will stand up for people’s speech rights in the courts. That’s where the FSU litigation fund comes in.
We are currently engaged in legal battles on a number of fronts:
– In early June we sent a Letter Before Action to Ofcom, telling the broadcast watchdog we will apply for a Judicial Review of its coronavirus guidance unless it withdraws it. That is the guidance it invoked when it reprimanded ITV and London Live for broadcasting comments by Eamonn Holmes and David Icke that challenged the Government’s official narrative about COVID-19. This is a particularly egregious violation of free speech, given that the official advice has often proved to be wrong, such as that issued to hospitals by Public Health England on February 25 that it was safe to discharge elderly patients into care homes without testing them first to make sure they didn’t have COVID-19. Ofcom has refused to withdraw or amend the guidance, so we have now issued court proceedings. You can read more about that challenge here.
– On June 7 we wrote to the Isle of Man’s Communications Commission demanding it exonerate Stu Peters, a Manx Radio host who was suspended when a local advertiser pulled its sponsorship after he challenged the idea that he’d received special treatment because of the colour of his skin. The Commission has now concluded that Stu did *not* breach the Isle of Man’s Programme Code, a significant victory for the FSU.
– We’ve said to Change.org that unless it reinstates a petition by the feminist campaigner Posie Parker, urging the Oxford English Dictionary not to change its definition of “Woman”, we will take it to court.
That’s just a handful of the cases we are involved in and over the coming weeks and months we expect to be involved in many more. The FSU has a Legal Advisory Council that includes many prominent barristers who donate their time for free, but going to court is expensive and we can’t afford to continue entering the fray without your help.
Our work ranges from defending individuals who have been hung out to dry after expressing a controversial opinion, to scrutinising state institutions that disregard their own rules and their duty to the public. Any donations we receive will be ring-fenced for the sole purpose of fighting legal cases.
As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people things they do not want to hear.”
It’s more important now than ever to stand up for that right.
Note: The organiser of this campaign is the FSU’s Company Secretary. All funds raised will go to The Free Speech Union Limited.
Support it here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-free-speech-union-fighting-fund