Whatever Happened to Press Freedom and Free Speech? Nick Gillespie at Newseum on Wed


Update: The correct time for this event is 9.15 A.M. Go here for more details.

Attention, D.C. residents! On Wednesday, I'll be part of a great program at The Newseum being put on by the great Brit site Spiked. Tickets are free and all are welcome!


Across the Western world, it is no longer just governments that see a free and rowdy press as a bad thing. So, increasingly, do many ostensibly liberal campaigners, and even many writers and journalists. There are many new threats to press freedom; not only laws, but also conformism, pressure from reformers, and a tendency to blame tabloid media in particular for every social and intellectual ill of our age. The modern, democratic West was born from the efforts of people who believed passionately in a free press—from England's Levellers to America's founding fathers to Europe's men of the Enlightenment—yet today, it is often the upper echelons of Western intellectual society who feel most uncomfortable with the ideal of a free press.

Why has press freedom fallen so far out of favour? Why are some people so riled by the existence of muck?raking, trouble-causing papers and other outlets, when that is the very business hacks have been involved in for centuries? If the modern West sprung from a renewed belief in freedom—including, crucially, press freedom—does today's discomfort with a free press tell us something about the corrosion of Western values more broadly? Can we recover the Jeffersonian view of press freedom being essential to democracy and stability?

Joining me on the panel will be Spiked's Brendan O'Neill, Al Jazeera's Ray Suarez, and the Committee to Protect Journalists' Courtney C. Radsch.


Weds 5 November

The Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington
DC 20001

RSVP here.

Here's an interview I did with Spiked about the issues we'll discuss: "The best answer to bad speech? More speech."