Intellectual Freedom

The Issue

Intellectual freedom is the right of everyone to hold and express opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which the many sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom is recognized by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, as a basic human right.

Why It Matters

Democracy is an ongoing conversation – a public discourse – about what is legitimate and what is illegitimate. That public discourse must necessarily and in important respects be exempt from majoritarian regulation as to content or viewpoint. Both the right to express ideas and opinions and to have the freedom to hear and receive others’ ideas and opinions is the foundation of meaningful public discourse and democracy. 

Our Work

The Centre for Free Expression promotes public discussion of the importance of intellectual freedom. In cases where intellectual freedom is being challenged, the Centre provides advice and assistance so that the issue can be resolved and the concerns leading to the challenge can be addressed meaningfully without compromising intellectual freedom. The Centre has created a Working Group on Intellectual Freedom to help guide its work on this issue. Click here to see members of the working group.

Resources

Upcoming Event

Demise of School Libraries: Consequences & Options

Panelists: Michael W. Apple, Brandi Bartok, Kamaljit Purewal, Dianne Oberg

Moderator: Richard Beaudry

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Freedom to Read Week 2021

March 4, 2021 - In Canada, Freedom to Read Week ended on February 27. The national event caught the attention of journalists in several Canadian communities.

Podcast

Transforming "Call Out" Culture

Loretta Ross  - In Conversation with Asam Ahmad​

Podcast

Canadian Authors and Books: An Endangered Species?

Panelists: Drew Hayden Taylor, Pilar Martinez, Barb Minett, Jim Lorimer

Moderator: Victor Rabinovitch

News

Mark Williams Joins CFE Working Group on Intellectual Freedom

Milton Public Library Chief Librarian and CEO Mark Williams is joining the Centre for Free Expression’s Working Group on Intellectual Freedom.

“We are delighted to welcome such a dedicated champion of intellectual freedom to the CFE Working Group,” said James L. Turk, the Centre’s Director.

February 8, 2021