Freedom of the press is essential for the proper functioning of democracy. Without journalists holding the powerful to account, whether they work for famous newspapers, have their own YouTube channel or publish on Substack, citizens cannot make informed decisions at the ballot box. If journalists are to carry on speaking truth to power, their free speech must be protected.
The free press is one of the jewels in Britain’s crown, a tradition that has developed over the centuries as the UK has evolved into a mature, fully-functioning democracy. Four hundred years ago, the progenitors of the free press, like John Wilkes, held the king’s feet to the fire in pamphlets and magazines; a hundred years ago, the great journalists of their day worked on Fleet Street; today, you’re as likely to find exposés of corruption and skulduggery in independent news publishing sites as you are in the Guardian or the BBC. It is essential to protect journalism no matter where reporters ply their trade.
The right of journalists to report on the activities of the rich and powerful without fear or favour – to call it as they see it without worrying about their careers – has been hard won and should not be surrendered lightly. As George Orwell, the celebrated journalist and author, said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
At the Free Speech Union, we understand the challenges you might face and are committed to being by your side throughout. If you want to speak up about an issue that matters to you, you should be free to do so without fear of being penalised. We have helped over 2,000 people who found themselves in trouble merely for expressing a controversial opinion or for exercising their lawful right to free speech, whether at college or university, in the workplace or on social media.
If you’re looking for information and guidance, or are in need immediate help, know that our team of experts are here to provide assistance, resources, and unwavering support. You’re not alone; we’re in this together.