FREE SPEECH: How Do We Protect It? Was formed in May 2015 to mark the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta on June 15.
On June 15 1215, King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta (Great Charter) at Runnymead, Surrey. This was remarkable as in the 13th century England, the Monarchy reigned supreme. The signing of the Magna Carta was the first official recognition that some of the King’s subjects had individual rights.
Indeed, as Runnymead Borough Council notes:
“The sealing of the Magna Carta has become recognised as one of the most important events in English history as it marked the road to individual freedom, parliamentary democracy and to the supremacy of law.”
Yet, despite all the lessons of history, Governments and institutions seem to have a tendency to want more power and control over their ‘subjects’. Various British government’s have proposed various draconian measures to help, they say, their fight against crime and the ever present bogeyman, the Terrorist.
This is where Free Speech comes into its own. For it notes:
“FREE SPEECH is a new group which aims to promote, protect and preserve civil and religious liberties for all. We are interested in all aspects of freedom. However,
we are especially interested in instances whereby elements of the State try to restrict freedom of speech and assembly.
We believe that Britain should have a formal constitution and bill of rights, based on the concept of civil and religious liberties for all. We also feel that a civil rights’ watchdog
should be established to protect people’s ability to make use of these fundamental rights.
We believe in absolute free speech – with very few exceptions to this rule e.g. inciting violence. Either we all have rights – or none of us have rights.”
FREE SPEECH: How Do We Protect It? hopes to produce a regular publication called Free Speech (issue 1 came out at in September 2015) as well as other promotional and educational outreach material.