Why Was the Campaign for Free Speech Created?
Free speech is a foundation of what makes our country special. Free speech allows anyone to give their views of politicians, corporations, public policy issues, and other matters. Free speech allows us to engage in dialogue and debate without fear of government censorship. In other countries, you can be put in jail simply for criticizing the government. That’s not who we are as Americans.
Yet according to our polling, conducted in September 2019, Americans are souring on freedom of speech and freedom of press. A majority of Americans support rewriting the First Amendment, which protects our right to give our views free of government censorship. The Campaign for Free Speech provides an aggressive and unapologetic defense of free speech and press, and seeks to educate Americans on the importance to our country of maintaining it. (View the full poll results here.)
Does the Campaign for Free Speech Support Hate Speech?
Of course not. Hate speech should be condemned. We believe that it is only through the ability to discuss, debate, and criticize ideas that we as a society can come to evolve and advance them. When one voice says something hateful, many other voices can speak up and condemn that speech. Freedom of speech does not mean there are no social consequences for what you say—just that the government can’t punish you.
Why Not Simply Ban Hate Speech?
Do you want a government agency reviewing what you post on Twitter and Facebook, or the podcasts and radio shows you listen to? One reason we don’t need the government censoring speech is that it will get political, and the definition of what’s “hate speech” can change. In the 40s and 50s many felt that minorities calling for civil rights should be restricted. In the 60s and 70s and even the 80s and 90s, a majority of Americans were offended by the idea of gay marriage. But in order to protect speech that calls for positive change, we must allow speech that is offensive to some.
Why Shouldn’t We Restrict the Free Press or Punish “Fake News”?
A free press allows for criticism of powerful politicians, corporations, and others. In some countries that don’t have a free and independent press, the media is little more than a mouthpiece of the government that suppresses the truth. As Thomas Jefferson once remarked, he would choose “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers” any day.
It’s also a misconception that the media cannot be held accountable for “fake news.” Any news organization can be sued and found liable for saying things that are false and defamatory. Additionally, there are social consequences. For example, news organizations often rely on ad revenue to stay in business. Organizations that fail in their duty to provide truthful information may be criticized, marginalized, and publicly condemned.
What are the Funding Sources for the Campaign for Free Speech?
We receive funding from people who believe in the First Amendment—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; liberals and conservatives. The Campaign for Free Speech is a nonpartisan organization.
How Can I Support the Campaign for Free Speech?
We have applied for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status with the IRS and expect approval shortly. In the meantime, you can follow us on social media and share our content, as well as sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates.
Have a question or comments? Send us feedback at [email protected].