… to warn of increasing international censorship

… Coming from the left, right, and centre

… united by our commitment to universal human rights and freedom of speech

… deeply concerned about attempts to label protected speech as ‘misinformation,’

… has resulted in the censorship of ordinary people, journalists, and dissidents in countries all over the world

… suppresses valid discussion about matters of urgent public interest

… undermines the foundational principles of representative democracy

… government actors, social media companies, universities, and NGOs are increasingly working to monitor citizens

… rob them of their voices

… visibility filtering, labelling, and manipulation of search engine results

… with the full support of ‘disinformation experts’ and ‘fact-checkers’ in the mainstream media

… have abandoned the journalistic values of debate and intellectual inquiry

… Soon, the European Union’s Digital Services Act will formalise

… by giving platform data to ‘vetted researchers’ from NGOs and academia

… relegating our speech rights to the discretion of these unelected and unaccountable entities

… are even aiming to target end-to-end encrypted messaging apps

… If end-to-end encryption is broken, we will have no remaining avenues for authentic private conversations in the digital sphere

… Under the guise of preventing harm and protecting truth

… speech is being treated as a permitted activity rather than an inalienable right

… words can sometimes cause offence

… but we reject the idea that hurt feelings and discomfort, even if acute, are grounds for censorship

… Open discourse is the central pillar … for … reducing the risk of tyranny

… Speech protections are not just for views we agree with

… We do not want our children to grow up in a world where they live in fear of speaking their minds

… ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’    [ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 19 ]

… Censorship in the name of ‘preserving democracy’ inverts what should be a bottom-up system of representation

    into a top-down system of ideological control

… This censorship … sows mistrust, encourages radicalization, and de-legitimizes the democratic process

… attacks on free speech have been a precursor to attacks on all other liberties

… Instead of fear and dogmatism, we must embrace inquiry and debate

… We stand for your right to ask questions

… Heated arguments, even those that may cause distress, are far better than no arguments at all

… As signatories of this statement, we have fundamental political and ideological disagreements. However, it is only by coming together that we will defeat the encroaching forces of censorship so that we can maintain our ability to openly debate and challenge one another


              Digital Services Act


                              The Universal Declaration of Human Rights