A group of journalists, historians, and famous academics have signed an international declaration calling for worldwide freedom of speech. It is called the Westminster Declaration.
The declaration specifically targets the practice of engaging in censorship using the pretense of fighting “misinformation.” It also denounces the use of censorship under the pretense of “preserving democracy.”
India, Turkey, Germany, and Brazil are cited as countries where the government is directly silencing people. However, it also targets the “Censorship-Industrial Complex,” such as social media companies de-platforming users.
There are three calls to action:
We call on governments and international organizations to fulfill their responsibilities to the people and to uphold Article 19 of the UDHR.
We call on tech corporations to undertake to protect the digital public square as defined in Article 19 of the UDHR and refrain from politically motivated censorship, the censorship of dissenting voices, and censorship of political opinion.
And finally, we call on the general public to join us in the fight to preserve the people’s democratic rights. Legislative changes are not enough. We must also build an atmosphere of free speech from the ground up by rejecting the climate of intolerance that encourages self-censorship and that creates unnecessary personal strife for many. Instead of fear and dogmatism, we must embrace inquiry and debate.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] Article 19 states:
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.