15 Nov 2014: English PEN exposes damage to freedom of expression

The Free Speech Network congratulates English PEN on exposing the damage to freedom of expression likely to be caused by the Government’s confused and ill-considered press legislation. The use of the law to discriminate against news organisations – however small – which refuse to join a state-approved club is profoundly undemocratic and a clear breach of human rights. It is particularly alarming to learn that these draconian measures could apply – at crippling cost - to community newspapers and websites, blogs and hobby magazines, while a vast news operation like the BBC website is exempt.

Read the full report here

believe there is a risk that politicians would explore their proposed new system of regulation to dampen criticisms of their behaviour, thereby restricting freedom of speech.

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About the FSN

The Free Speech Network comprises UK, European and global newspaper, magazine, print and online publishers, editors and other groups who share concerns over protecting freedom of expression against any threats to introduce a statutory backstop to press regulation.

The Free Speech Network believes that a vibrant free press and internet is essential to any democracy.

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“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.”

– Sir Winston Churchill