In Defence of Free Speech

07jan03:0005:00In Defence of Free SpeechIceland

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Free Speech – a new Icelandic society for free and open discussion, democracy and human rights, will host a forum on the state of the freedom of expression on January 7th. at 2 PM, in the lecture hall of the Icelandic National Museum.
The theme of the forum is how governments and corporations use censorship and silencing to prevent unpleasant information from coming out, under the guise of protecting the public.

Toby Young, associate editor of the Spectator, editor in chief of The Daily Sceptic and chairman of the Free Speech Union in the UK, has been a vocal critic of the government’s actions during the coronavirus crisis. Last fall, the PayPal payment service closed his accounts due to his views, and as a result, a number of such actions against individuals and organizations around the world came to the surface. Toby Young will discuss freedom of expression and personal freedom in a time of ongoing emergency and fear in a talk he calls “How Pascal’s wager has made slaves of us all”.

Ögmundur Jónasson, former Member of Parliament and Icelandic Minister of the Interior, will talk about censorship and silence regarding the issues of war-torn minorities. Among other things, Jónasson has for many years been actively involved in raising awareness of Kurdish issues. In his talk, he will shed light on how discussion of the struggle of this war-torn ethnic group is deliberately silenced by Western governments.

Wikileaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson will talk about the case of Australian journalist Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, who is currently in solitary confinement in the UK, awaiting the outcome of the US government’s extradition case against him. As is well known, the litigation is based on the fact that Assange was the first to publish documents that exposed the war crimes of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hrafnsson has just returned from a trip through Central and South America to gain support for Assange’s cause.

We formed the society last fall and this is the first major event we host. More information on the organisation is available here. It is in Icelandic (but google translate comes in handy). The society was set up by a group of people from all walks of life, critical of the heavy-handed response to the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions on basic personal freedom, censorship and mandates. As we see it, ensuring free expression and free exchange of information is the critical cornerstone of a free democratic society; without free expression there can be no democracy and no human rights.


(Saturday) 03:00 - 05:00

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