Topic

free speech

8 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society

NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society: Stop Censoring Free Speech

“We, the undersigned, condemn the recent decision taken by the Literary and Debating Society of NUI Galway to restrict free speech in the debating chamber. We call on the committee of the Literary and Debating Society to rescind this restriction and uphold the democratic right of all students to freedom of speech without censorship.” This semester (September 2017) at NUI Galway, the Literary and Debating Society, the university's oldest and most prestigious student organisation, introduced restrictions on free speech for the first time. It is now official policy that, during a debate, if you say anything that might be seen as offensive to anyone inside the room or outside, you will be shut down, and possibly asked to leave. Exact statement from Auditor Mark Graydon at the Literary and Debating Society's first debate of the academic year, Sept 14th 2017: "If you proceed to attack others or say anything that might be construed as offensive to someone within the chamber or without, then I will give you one warning, before asking you that, if you continue that behaviour, that you will be asked to leave the chamber" This is an assault on free speech, coming from an institution which supposedly exists to defend free speech. It sets a dangerous precedent of intolerance, and it must be opposed. My name is Josiah Burke. I am a final year commerce student at NUI Galway specialising in economics. I have set up this petition to put pressure on the Society to rescind this policy, respect the democratic freedoms of all students, and stop censoring Free Speech. Tyranny never appears overnight – instead it gradually chips away at our freedoms, and too often we don’t notice until it’s too late. If you place any value on the freedoms of democracy that you enjoy, I’m asking you to sign this petition. - Josiah Burke

Josiah Burke
117 supporters
Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to Youtube, Google

Stand up for free speech by improving your copyright & advertising policies.

YouTube. Ever since it was first launched back in 2005, Youtube has become one of the largest and most important social media sites in the world, and many people use it everyday. Whether you watch reviews, news stories, comedy videos or anything else in between, Youtube has something to offer everyone who uses it.  It is also important as it is allows anyone to have a voice, whether it would be a professinal critic reviewing something or a shy individual who uses Youtube to express themselves and to boost their confidence because of it, and it makes Youtube an important advocater for the right to have free speech because of it. However, that right has come under a brutal attack recently. Because of Youtube's faulty copyright system, many companies have decided abuse the system's problems and use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act as implimented in Youtube in order to silence anyone they wish, whether it would be for criticising their output or for using minimal pieces of their material or a multitude of other reasons. The more infamous examples of this include Universal Music Group removing a video of Michelle Malkin's criticising artist Akon for "degarding women" in his music (Full story: http://michellemalkin.com/2007/05/03/akons-record-company-abuses-dmca-to-stifle-criticism-on-youtube/), WildGame Studios removing a wholly negative review of their game Day One: Gary's Incident (Full story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfgoDDh4kE0) & Sega removing multiple Shining Force videos from Youtube (going as far as to remove videos that only talked about Shining Force rather than use any gameplay footage) in order to promote their game Shining Ark (Full story: http://www.destructoid.com/sega-forcing-removal-of-shining-force-videos-on-youtube-239581.phtml), most of which have yet to have been removed, leaving some Youtube channels terminated to this day (http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/13glp8/sega_starts_quietly_removing_youtube_users_videos). ; Sounds bad enough, doesn't it? However, it is made even worse however by other factors as well, showing how much power these companies hold over Youtube. This also includes an automated claiming system that allows companies (including Nintendo and Namco) to place copyright claims on videos automatically if it uses their material as well as some companies being allowed to remove videos that aren't reviews that may use their footage, but for other purposes, mainly that of the Lenz vs. Universal Music Group case whereby UMG had removed a video of a parent's children dancing to Prince's Let's Go Crazy and sued the company for it. (Full case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenz_v._Universal_Music_Corp). All of this and more clearly show the problems of Youtube's copyright policies and it's implications of the DMCA on the site and how it needs to be improved, due to the effect that it can have on its users. While I'm not saying that Youtube should completly abandon its copyright system altogether (as it is often rightly used to stop Youtube from being used in order for people to dump pirated media on the site), I'm suggesting that it should be improved. This is due to how its current position is harmful to ALL of Youtbe's users, especially ones who use Youtube for their livelihood, and could struggle to live if their Youtube account was removed due to how a company or companies want to silence people who either criticise their work or otherwise. Speaking from personal experience (my YouTube channel was hit by multiple claims a few months back from companies like UMG, WMG and EMI for example), I think it is vital that YouTube improves its copyright policies otherwise not only will many be silenced from giving their opinions, many will be too fearful of uploading content to YouTube and many will have their livelihoods threatened. However, you can change this. If enough of you sign this petition, we can convince YouTube to improve their copyright policies and therefore make YouTube a better and more open site because of it. Thank you for signing.  UPDATE - Now I've updated the petition to cover YouTube's demonetising of political content on their site. To those uninitiated about this, I'll explain. In owner company Google's new rules about what content is suitable for advertising doesn't include: 'controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.' As such, this could mean that people's videos could be demonetised on the grounds of it's political content. Worse still is that it's already happened, to many YouTubers including Phil DeFranco & Paul Joseph Watson. This is extremely Orwellian, where political wrongthinkers are having their livelihoods threatened simply by exercising their right to freedom of speech. Not only is this bad for the creators, it will also be bad for the consumers. It will lead to more political YouTubers leaving the site out of fear of having their livelihoods ruined, and that will ruin the diversity the platform has, leading many people to other sites other than YouTube. In a similar matter to Twitter, people will leave a network that tightens the screws on free speech. In these circumstances, I am changing my petition. It will now be concerned with getting YouTube to stand up for free speech, both against copyright and political dissent.

Edward Howard
68 supporters
This petition won 9 months ago

Petition to Twitter, Inc, Jack Dorsey, Twitter

Unsuspend Sargon Of Akkad from Twitter

Sargon Of Akkad is one of the most popular YouTubers out there. His videos are a wonderful blend of political discussion, constructive analysis and humour and are always fun to watch. He's managed to gain a strong audience and has helped to make more people interested in politics, including myself. However, he has been recently suspended from Twitter. The reasons at the time of writing are unclear, and not even Sargon himself has been notified as to why he's been banned. This is an utter disgrace, because not only is it restricting free speech but is also following an unhealthy trend on Twitter to silence popular users who speak out against the mainstream narrative, including Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopolous. This is while numerous actual hate speech accounts (including jihadist and Neo-Nazi accounts) are still alive and online. As both a fan of Sargon & free speech, I would ask Twitter to reverse its stance here, considering that he hasn't done anything wrong and that such actions set a worrying precedent. If people like Sargon can get banned for expressing his reasonable views, who else can they censor under the guise of silencing so called hate speech? Twitter is becoming too Orwellian at this point for its own good and its time to change that. Getting Sargon's account back online would be a great start in doing that.  #FreeSargon

Edward Howard
53 supporters