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Why free speech matters – book launch of Censored

Paul Coleman’s book Censored to be presented in London; panel discussion with Brendan O’Neill from spiked on free speech


LONDON – Today, 15 June 2016, ADF International will officially launch the second edition of Paul Coleman’s book Censored – How European “Hate Speech” Laws Are Threatening Freedom of Speech published by Kairos Publications. The book will be presented in the course of a panel discussion with Brendan O’Neill, editor of the online journal spiked, at the October Gallery in central London from 6.30 p.m. onwards.

A week before the British electorate vote on European Union membership, O’Neill and Coleman explore what is behind Europe’s increasingly punitive hate-speech legislation, which has led to individuals being arrested, fined and even jailed for speaking out on contentious issues.

“In Europe’s recent past, speech restrictions were used by illiberal states to silence dissent. We should be greatly concerned by sleepwalking into the same situation today,” said Paul Coleman, Deputy Director of ADF International and author of the book. “Europe’s free speech situation grows worse by the year as more ‘hate speech’ laws are passed and restrictions move from the criminal law into all aspects of life, including university speech codes, workplace codes of conduct, and internet rules. Once the shrinking dictionary begins, there is no logical stopping point.”

The rise of “hate speech” laws

Censored addresses the rise of so-called “hate speech” laws throughout Europe and their devastating effect on freedom of speech. In Germany, for example, committing an “insult” is a criminal offence and in Poland offending “religious feelings” carries a two year prison sentence. In Cyprus, anyone who promotes “feelings of ill will” may be committing a crime, while in Sweden anyone who expresses “contempt” towards a group of people may be imprisoned.

Censored documents more than fifty different “hate speech” cases throughout Europe

Across Europe, such laws are readily being used. Ministers of religion are arrested for preaching sermons from the Bible, journalists are routinely fined, and even private conversations between citizens can result in criminal investigations. In fact, Censored documents more than fifty different “hate speech” cases throughout Europe, most of which have occurred in the last decade.

Presentation and debate on 15 June at October Gallery, London

“This brilliant book is essential reading for anyone who cares about freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, and who is concerned about the strangling of these key liberties by politicians passing ‘hate speech’ laws”, said Brendan O’Neill.
Together with Coleman he will present the book at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury, central London on 15 June, opening with a drinks reception from 6.30 p.m. onwards.

If you intend to come or are interested in a review copy, please contact athonhauser@adfinternational.org

For more information on Censored go to www.adfinternational.org/censored and for Photos of the event head over to our facebook page.

ADF International is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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