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Dear Elon,

Let's keep speech free

Dear Elon,

Let's keep speech free

On the digital marketplace of ideas

On the digital marketplace of ideas

Photo:
James Duncan Davidson
CC BY-ND 2.0.

SIGN THE OPEN LETTER NOW

  • Ask Elon to take a stand against government censorship

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Signatures 5,391
Goal 6,000

OPEN LETTER

X as a vital force for combatting state-sponsored censorship

Dear Elon, 

Congratulations on one year at the helm of X. Thank you for being a global champion of free speech—foundational to a flourishing society, and yet under increasing threat.

As you rightfully have spotlighted, threats to free expression often come at the hands of businesses treating employees unfairly for sharing their views.

Even more insidious is the mounting trend of government suppression of speech with the imposition of serious penalties, and even criminal sanctions, for free expression.

In an August 5, 2023 X post, you generously offered: “If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill. No limit.”

For a truly comprehensive response to free speech restrictions, our request is that you extend this important offer to cases of state-driven censorship.

Free speech is broadly protected by every major human rights treaty; however, in the West, speech increasingly is targeted by “hate speech” laws. In other regions, blasphemy laws target minority groups, sometimes with the sentence of death. These repressive laws are two sides of the same coin—both punish those who speak out against state-approved views.

As the world’s meeting place—where ideas are challenged by ideas—the support of X in standing against state censorship is essential. Consider the following active attacks on free speech:

  • In Finland, parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen, a former government minister and grandmother, currently is awaiting a verdict, having been criminally tried for “hate speech” for a 2019 Bible-verse tweet. She was charged under the Finnish criminal code’s section on “War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,” carrying a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment.
  • In Mexico, former congressman Rodrigo Iván Cortés and sitting congressman Gabriel Quadri have been convicted of “gender-based political violence,” and placed on an offenders’ register, for Twitter posts. For expressing their views on biological sex, both have been ordered to publish a court-written apology on X every day for 30 days, 3 times a day, as a form of public humiliation.
  • At the international level, the European Commission is advancing efforts to make “hate speech” an EU crime, on the same legal level as trafficking and terrorism. Initiatives such as the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation could have significant implications for how governments police speech, especially as European Commission VP Věra Jourová singled out X for “the largest ratio of mis/disinformation posts” in her September 26, 2023, statement.

And these are far from isolated threats. If X is to be a free marketplace of ideas, everyone must be able to peacefully debate the issues of our time without fear of government punishment.

Given your commitment to free speech and unrivaled capacity to effect change, we ask that you harness X to make clear that no one should be punished under the law for peaceful expression on X or any platform. Specifically:

Designate funds to support legal action challenging state-sponsored censorship of views on X, broadening your offer regarding cases in the workplace.

Create an intake mechanism on X whereby individuals can apply for this support.

Host X Spaces to bring worldwide attention to censorship cases involving both governments and the workplace.

With gratitude for your commitment to free speech,


Signatories*

The signatories of this letter are united in their commitment to free speech, and represent a diverse range of viewpoints. We affirm that it is only by free and open debate that we will be able to tackle the issues of our day—a prerequisite for a flourishing society. It is in this spirit that we join together with this letter to support a free and open public square.

Charlie Bentley-Astor, Writer & Commentator
Amandeep Singh Bhogal, Founding Chairman, Global Britain Centre
Sam Brownback, Former US Senator, Former US Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom
Noah Carl, Editor, Aporia Magazine
Sara Carter, Fox News Contributor & Host, the Sara Carter Show
Adam B. Coleman, Founder, Wrongspeak Publishing
Paul Coleman, Executive Director, ADF International
Rodrigo Iván Cortés, Former Mexican Congressman & Civil Society Leader
Steve Deace, Host of the Steve Deace Show 
Jamile DeSouza-Davies, Academic & Media personality
Seth Dillon, CEO, The Babylon Bee
Nick Dixon, Comedian, Broadcaster, GB News
Rod Dreher, Author & Columnist
James Esses, Co-founder, Thoughtful Therapists
Nate Fischer, Founder, New Foundling
Prof. Frank Furedi, Director, MCC Bruxelles
Nile Gardiner, Former Aide to Margaret Thatcher
Sara Gonzales, Host of The News & Why It Matters
Darren Grimes, Presenter, GB News
Prof. Dennis Hayes, Director, Academics for Academic Freedom
Sachin Jose, Journalist & Social Media Influencer
Josie, “The Redheaded Libertarian”, Host, Spaces with Josie
Prof. Eric Kaufmann, Professor of Politics, University of Buckingham
Dr. Philip Kiszely, Cultural Historian
Madeleine Lacsko, Author, Journalist and Founder at Instituto Direito de Fala
Agustín Laje, Author & Political Scientist
Oli London, Author & Journalist
Michael Malice, Author, Model & Podcaster
Paul Marshall, Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom, Baylor University
Heather Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith fellow, Manhattan Institute
Dr. Calum Miller, Medical Doctor, Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr. Sebastian Morello, BA, MA, PhD Senior Editor & Editorial Board Member at The European Conservative
Andy Ngo, Author & Journalist
Brendan O’Neill, Chief Political Writer, Spiked
Dr. James Orr, Associate Professor, University of Cambridge, UK
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
Jack Posobiec, Senior Editor, Human Events
Nina Power, Senior Editor, Compact Magazine 
Gabriel Quadri , Member of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies
Päivi Räsänen, Member of Finnish Parliament
R. R. Reno, Editor, First Things
Calvin Robinson, Anglican Deacon, TV/Radio Presenter
Sam Sey, Blogger & Public Speaker
Nina Shea, Director, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
Dave Smith, Host, Part of the Problem Podcast
Ashley St Clair, The Babylon Bee
Allie Beth Stuckey, Author, Host, Relatable Podcast
Dr. David Thunder, Permanent Research Fellow, Insitute for Culture and Society, University of Pamplona
Prof. James Tooley, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingam
Jeffrey Tucker, President, The Brownstone Institute
Zuby Udezue, Rapper, Author, Podcast Host, Public Speaker
Eva Vlaardingerbroek, Political Commentator & Legal Philosopher
Kristen Waggoner, President and CEO, Alliance Defending Freedom / ADF International
Emma Webb, Writer & Commentator
Ed West, Writer, the Wrong Side of History Substack
Joanna Williams, Author & Columnist
Tom Woods, Author & Host, The Tom Woods Show
Toby Young, Founder & General Secretary, Free Speech Union

*Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only, names are in alphabetical order.