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.
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.
Recent news of challenges to books in school and public libraries remind us that book challenges are not uncommon in Canada and, in most cases, are dealt with by the library staff.
Freedom of Expression is an important foundation of a democratic society and protected as a “fundamental freedom” in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under the First
I want to first address the fundamental role and value of the public library in Canadian communities – its “value proposition,” grounded in intellectual freedom – and then make a case for intellect
In 2019, we seem to have crossed a professional threshold where discourse is still possible and ongoing but, like many other instances in our everyday lives, it is becoming politicized and polarize
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