As millions of students and teachers adjust to virtual learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic, NCAC will offer teachers the opportunity to host virtual presentations on free speech and the First Amendment by guest speakers from our staff of experts.
Free Speech Is For Me aims to reverse the trend of free speech being pitted against advocacy for social change and equip a broad new range of individuals to challenge censorship, defend speech rights and champion freedom of expression for all activists.
Joan Bertin (former executive director, NCAC), Toni Morrison, Fran Lebowitz “The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, canceled films—that thought is a nightmare. As [...]
NCAC proposes holding an open forum where GWHS students can talk about how they see and interpret the Arnautoff murals. We invite the San Francisco Board of Education to collaborate with us in presenting the forum.
The New Jersey legislature is considering an education bill that would redefine anti-Semitism so broadly as to infringe on protected speech.
Over 100 teen filmmakers spoke Truth to Power for this year’s YFEP Film Contest. We invited teens to speak directly to those in power to lead change about issues that matter to them. The 12 finalist films tackled a wide range of polarizing, and often taboo, topics including gun violence, immigrant family separation, gender equality, toxic masculinity, shaming and [...]
Support for free speech is not a dogma never to be questioned. When white supremacists violently march in Charlottesville under the banner of “free speech” while NFL players are penalized for protesting the murder of unarmed black people, can one still insist that those of us standing up against racism and working towards a more equitable society should engage politely with racist ideologues?
When a nation built on broad protections for speech faces times of deep political division, it must draw a firm line between freedom of speech and violent conduct or disruptive behavior aimed at silencing others.
The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation will give its First Amendment Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan Bertin, longtime Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
NCAC has urged an Oklahoma board of education to rescind its policy of disciplining students who do not stand during the national anthem as students have the right to peaceful and non-disruptive political speech, which includes the right to protest.
“Blanket orders from the Trump Administration preventing the staffs and experts of federal agencies from communicating with the public send a chilling message that every governmental communication, no matter how routine or technical, will now be subject to a political litmus test."
Protests and criticism are one thing-- calls to defund a Wesleyan student newspaper over an op-ed go too far. Student government officers, and the newspaper itself, must do more to support free expression.
NCAC and FIRE weigh in on the controversy over the firing of LSU professor Teresa Buchanan, who reportedly told a number of jokes that some students found uncomfortable.
From Center for Constitutional Rights: Synopsis Blum v. Holder is a federal lawsuit challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The plaintiffs are five longtime animal rights activists whose advocacy work has been chilled due to fear of being prosecuted as a terrorist under the AETA. ... Pushed through Congress by a powerful lobby [...]
Don’t mess with Abbe Klebanoff, the head of public services for Pennsylvania’s Lansdowne Public Library. She encouraged teens to create a music video called "Read It" to the music of Michael Jackson's song, "Beat It," and posted it on YouTube. What followed was predictable—Sony objected and took it down, claiming copyright infringement. The passionate Klebanoff, who spent weeks helping the teens [...]
The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: ProstitutionA proposed revision of the laws governing prostitution is a complicated and multi-faceted issue. Feminists for Free Expression advocates the decriminalization of prostitution. This paper sets forth why this ...
This morning, we took a moment to capture a bit of the action at Zuccotti Park in the wake of the late night, NYPD eviction of the encampment that had lasted almost two months. Here, a participant in the Occupy Wall Street movement talks about the judge's restraining order stating protestors must be allowed entrance to Zuccotti Park (pending a [...]
A New Jersey state law coming into effect today (Sept 1st) is considered the “toughest legislation against bullying in the nation”. It may, however, also prove to be dangerously overbroad and stifle student speech on a variety of topics. Called the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the law was adopted in the aftermath of the suicide of a Rutgers University student [...]
Photo by rosipaw on Flicrk This week, Stephanie Mencimer at MotherJones.com reported on horrifying cases of harassment and suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin schools of Minnesota, in Rep. Michelle Bachman’s district. The article, published within days of a suit filed against the district by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has further mobilized advocates calling for expanded anti-bullying policies and [...]
Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. signified a subtle yet important shift in commercial speech interpretation that may precede increased corporate strength in the legal arena. The opinion, by Justice Kennedy, argues that Vermont did not have grounds to ban pharmaceutical data-mining as it is a form of non-deceptive commercial information-sharing that is [...]
NCAC is adding to the global community of artists and institutions calling for the immediate release of the renowned Ai Weiwei, one China's most innovative and socially engaged creators. He was arrested at Beijing Airport this week for "economic crimes", and he alleges that in 2009 the security police attacked and beat him. Check out our call to [...]
In response to the national outrage over the removal of artist David Wojnarowicz’ video Fire In My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery following pressure from the Catholic League and Republican Congressional leaders, the Smithsonian Board of Regents formed an Advisory Panel*.
Policing The Sacred, organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship, looks at the volatile relationship between art, politics and religion.In recent decades the tensions between these have become intense, evident in the American culture wars of the 90s, the Danish cartoon uproar, and ongoing battles over artistic depictions of religious figures, including the recent removal of a David Wojnarowicz video from a show at the National Portrait Gallery. The panel, open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, February 9th, from 12:30-2 PM.
NCAC occasionally publishes guest blogs on topics related to free speech. The views in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAC, however they raise important issues for discussion. By Vel Nirtist How do you keep the unwashed masses known as the "public" from highly prestigious and quite remunerative pursuit known as "public debate" which rightly belongs [...]
Censorship continues full front attacks on all the arts. Two weeks into 2011, we've already seen censorship of David Wojnarowicz at the National Portrait Gallery; a new edition of Mark Twain's Huckelberry Finn hit the bookstores, without the N-word; the arrest of Belarus theater director Nikolai Khalezin of Belarus Free Theatre and now the Waterbury Connecticut school district is attempting [...]
On Thursday, January 13th, a new museum opens in Washington, DC: The Museum of Censored Art, founded by art and free speech activists Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone. Mike and Mike are the iPad protesters, who were expelled from the National Portrait Gallery when they attempted to show David Wojnarowicz's video Fire In My Belly in the galleries of [...]
The removal of David Wojnarowicz's video from the National Portrait Gallery last month renews conservative groups' attacks on the arts. Clearly, it's timed with the ascension of the Republican majority in the House and attempts to formulate a strategy for eliminating voices and ideas they find troubling. It's remarkable how unoriginal and inflexible their thinking and approach has become, using [...]
NewSouth Books, based in Alabama, is publishing a new edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. As many know, Mr. Twain has been very much in the news lately. His Autobiography is a current bestseller (NYTimes bestseller list for 10 weeks now) and is earning well-deserved praise. Regrettably, now we must add another reason [...]
There is some good news in the prolonged battle of fleeting expletives in the media, FCC v. Fox Television Stations. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the FCC’s ban on fleeting expletives is unconstitutionally vague. This comes off the heels of a Supreme Court decision upholding the FCC’s authority under the Administrative Procedure Act to issue regulations [...]
Its Banned Books Week and yet efforts to censor books in the U.S.A continue. In fact, just this past week, Ellen Hopkins, author of the Banned Books Week Manifesto was censored in Norman, Oklahoma. According to Ms. Hopkins, "I was supposed to do a school visit at Whittier Middle School. A parent went in complaining about content in CRANK and [...]
In August, 2007, Debbie Almontaser was the interim principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, an Arabic language public high school she had worked with the New York City Department of Education for two years to establish. Though the school was secular (a point Almontaser sought to emphasize by naming the school for the famous Christian Lebanese poet), [...]
Touch every book. Char every page. Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible... The NCAC is excited to present the Banned Books Week 2009 Manifesto written by Ellen Hopkins, author of several verse novels on teenage struggles, including Crank, Burned, Impulse and most recently, Tricks. We here at the NCAC want to know what you are doing this year [...]
Being so busy with campaigns promoting “freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and central Asia, it’s hardly surprising that most of us here in the United States are unaware of an archaic and abominable practice that continues here at home - book banning. The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP), a collaboration of NCAC and the American Booksellers Foundation [...]
While Congress has been busy protecting animals from cruelty at the expense of the First Amendment (See U.S. v Stevens) elsewhere it has been legislating away the First Amendment rights of animal cruelty protesters to protect corporate profits. Last month, a federal court in Northern California heard oral arguments on a motion to dismiss in United States v. Buddenberg, the [...]