freedom of speech

20 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to The Right Reverend Kate Wilmot, Administrator of the Diocese of Perth and the Diocesan Council

Do Not Silence Father Chris Bedding

Father Chris Bedding is a priest, an activist, and a comedian. In all three of these roles, he is a positive social influence. His parish has blossomed into a supportive, living community, and his work for the rights of refugees and LGTBQI people is as commendable as it is tireless. He has, however, currently been removed from his parish due to a single complaint about his social media usage, and the perceived content of his onstage performances. He has been denied the right of reply, and treated poorly. It is a shabby state of affairs that this excellent priest is being censored for creating innovative art. It is also a shameful waste of the limited time and resources available to a Church department principally set up to assist survivors of sexual abuse. As a comedian, Father Chris is funny, perceptive, creative, thoughtful – and through Pirate Church, a great provider of insight into the Christian faith, as well as the amusing day-to-day minutiae of parish life. Pirate Church has taken elements of the Anglican Church to audiences that would never have encountered its theology or practice, and made both accessible and interesting. It is more amusing than The Pearly Gates comic strip that used to run in the Anglican Messenger; more insightful than The Vicar of Dibley and unlike Rowan Atkinson’s procession of incompetent clergymen, Father Chris’s performances are not rooted in the stumbling, bumbling “good evening, Vicar” of English farce. Father Chris is a man whose onstage work reflects the living, breathing modern Church. It is unique, and is arguably the best contemporary representation of modern Christianity to be seen on any stage. (Jesus Christ Superstar, is, after all, looking a little creaky.) As members of the Arts community, and people of diverse faith, sexuality and gender, we are honoured to have him as a peer. We maintain that Father Chris has been removed from his parish as part of a secretive, misguided and cruel process, and we petition the Administrator and the Diocesan Council to reinstate him immediately. Art is subjective, but to see such a vital community voice struck down over an interpretation of art is sickening.

John Robertson
2,470 supporters
Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to The Federal Government of Malaysia, All relevant state parties

Stop Crackdowns on Intellectuals in Malaysia!

We, the undersigned individuals, register our gravest concern and strongest objection to a series of crackdowns on intellectuals from September 25 to October 3. These include the arrest of Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol, the harassment and persecution of Akyol’s host, Dr Farouk Musa of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) and the banning of 22 books, including discursive writings by Akyol, Farouk Musa, scholar Faisal Tehrani (Dr. Mohd Faizal Musa) and cleric Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussin. “Religious teaching without tauliah [proper accreditation]” (Section 11 of Act 559 in this case) is a Syariah offense normally reserved for errant preachers in mosques and surau. Actions by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAWI) against Akyol for allegedly committing such an offence prior to an aborted forum in Nottingham University Malaysia, and against Dr. Farouk Musa for allegedly abetting Akyol, set a dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for academic freedom and, certainly, freedom of speech in Malaysia. Are intellectual discourses in universities involving Islam now being regulated by State Islamic Religious Departments? Do universities need to get clearance from the religious departments before inviting any speakers on any topics related to Islam? As Islam is being applied in almost every sector in Malaysian society, are the religious bureaucrats now the de-facto thought police for the nation to decide what thoughts we can and cannot have? We also view the recent banning of books by Akyol, Farouk Musa, Faisal Tehrani and Ustaz Wan Ji under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA) as a further attempt at mind control. Section 7 permits the banning of publications that are or are likely to be “prejudicial to public order, morality, security,” “to alarm public opinion,” or “prejudicial to public interest or national interest”. We ask, how did Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, find “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” and its Malay translation “Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan” by Mustafa Akyol, the two volumes of “Wacana Pemikiran Reformis” edited by Dr. Farouk Musa, “Aku_maka aku ada” (I _ therefore I am) by Faisal Tehrani and “Ulamak yang bukan pewaris Nabi” (Those clergy who are not the Prophet’s successors) by Ustaz Wanji, to be harmful to public order, morality, security, public opinion, public interest or national interest? Are ideas like moderation, reform and liberty now enemies of the state? The crackdowns on intellectuals during these two weeks is not an isolated development but a serious and dangerous escalation in a long and on-going process of thought policing to close the minds of Malaysians, especially Muslims. If we do not speak up for Akyol, Farouk, Faisal, Wan Ji and others whom the state want silenced, soon there will be no one left to speak up for us when we are silenced. We demand the Federal Government and all other relevant state parties: (a) To end all harassments, investigations and charges on Dr. Farouk Musa, IRF and their past and future intellectual guests; (b) To lift the ban of the abovementioned books as well as other books that promote intellectual discourses and moderation; (c) To abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act and to replace it with a human-rights-compliant publication law; (d) To uphold Freedom of Expression, as enshrined in Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution and to end all thought policing on academics and academia; ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Note : This is a joint statement drafted by a group of civil society organisations in Malaysia, the coordinating unit is Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, any queries please contact us at

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
1,804 supporters
Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to

The Recall of Debo Adebayo

In a move that is considered to be gauging students' liberty to freely express themselves, the management of Redeemer's University in its wisdom decided on the 6th of October, 2017 to expel Mr Adedayo Adebowale Babtunde who was due to graduate during the most recent convocation. The school gave the reason for his expulsion as "he recently posted certain messages on some social media which are offensive and portrays the Redeemer's University and some of its officials in bad light" Assuming that the claims of the University are correct in its entirety, it still remains a sharp contrast to the teachings and celebrated philosophy that encourages Redeemer's University alumnus to be thoroughbred individuals with the capacity to accept criticisms in good faith and seek the most amicable route to resolution at all times. In a country that has suffered its unfair share of information suppression and press harassment, it is surprising that an institution of higher learning is working assiduously against this common good. We submit that an expulsion cannot and should certainly not be the corresponding punishment to the case the university has against Mr Debo. To the extent that the university is guided by laid down principles, it is at liberty to discipline erring students appropriately. However, in this instance, it would be tantamount to killing a fly with a sledge hammer. We also haven't been able to establish that the school regulation allows for this level of punishment for the said offense. In exercising its discretion to discipline, the facts of the matter must be carefully considered. Was there a direct relationship established between the said social media post and the university (including its officials?) Could it be argued that the post had no relationship with the university? There is sufficient reason from within the university student community to believe that this move is a direct vendetta against Mr Debo whose actions has a student leader have in most instances left a sour taste in the mouth of the management. This stifling action also raises many more unsuspecting questions, why now? To what extent was he giving a fair trial? Was this really about the image of Redeemer's University or the personal egos of 'some of its officials' that were bruised. Our case against the management of the university certainly has its roots beyond this case with elaborate details available within the public domain but this is one taken too far. We believe in justice and call on everyone to join this cause.

Redeemer's University Alumni Association.
3,814 supporters