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News

EUSA, citing free speech, advised against removal of society committee member for denying existence of war crimes in Ukraine

Content Warning: anti-Ukrainian sentiment Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) advised against a society’s attempt to remove a member of their committee on free speech grounds after they denied the existence of war crimes in Ukraine and referred to pro-EU protesters as “nazis”. The student was set to be removed by the rest of their committee […]

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Comment

The free speech façade

As I returned home from work one night a couple of weeks ago, I turned the radio on to hear the news that the writer Salman Rushdie had been stabbed. Shock rattled through my system, followed by complete disbelief. Despite his death warrant being announced over 30 years ago by the Ayatollah of Iran and […]

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Comment

The decline of Internet freedom

2021 was a bad year for Internet freedom, and 2022 hasn’t started particularly well. Free expression online is under a massive strain, most notably in authoritarian regimes like Myanmar, Belarus, and Uganda. This was one of the main findings from a Freedom House report published last September entitled Freedom on the Net 2021. Hopes of […]

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News

Gavin Williamson announces measures designed to protect academic freedom

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced stringent new measures this week which aim to prevent free speech and academic freedom being infringed upon in higher education institutions. Upon implementation of the regulations, the Office for Students will be able to fine universities for breaching these rules. Williamson expressed concern that universities are no longer […]

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Social media: the new force against fascism

I’m tired of feeling guilty every time I tap the Facebook icon. Millennial and Gen Z cohorts have been bombarded with anti-social media messages since its relatively recent advent. Horrifying statistics about social media usage. Scientific studies. Reports of cyberbullying. The evidence seems to suggest that social media is designed to drive us to despair, […]

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Editorial

The ways in which J.K. Rowling’s critics silence trans voices

Content warning: discussion of misogyny and transphobia; mentions of domestic abuse and sexual assault There are few current issues which inspire as much rancour as the debate over trans self-identification, and no individual, surely, who receives as much vitriol for their views on the subject as the author J.K. Rowling. She has been involved in […]

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Comment

We must be free to disagree

For those Scots who value the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment, Holyrood’s Hate Crime Bill may be the most regressive piece of political kowtowing in recent memory. Lockdown has seen a sharp increase in celebrity cancellations, as old tweets resurface and their tweeters are virtually decimated. Now the Scottish government will give offenders something else […]

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You have the right to speak but not to be heard

Content warning: transphobia. “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” – @jk_rowling, 6 June 2020 Was JK Rowling’s tweet about people who menstruate transphobic? Probably. There are lots of people smarter than me who have responded to it and I suggest […]