Freedom wikipedia

Freedom wikipedia DEFAULT

Freedom in the World

Annual survey by Freedom House

Classification of countries according to the Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2020.[1]

  Free  Partly Free  Not Free

Freedom in the World is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based[3]non-governmental organizationFreedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.

Origin and use[edit]

Freedom in the World was launched in 1973 by Raymond Gastil. It produces annual scores representing the levels of political rights and civil liberties in each state and territory, on a scale from 1 (most free) to 7 (least free). Depending on the ratings, the nations are then classified as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free".[4] The report is often used by researchers in order to measure democracy and correlates highly with several other measures of democracy such as the Polity data series.[5]

The Freedom House rankings are widely reported in the media and used as sources by political researchers. Their construction and use has been evaluated by critics and supporters.[6]

Country rankings[edit]

The rankings are from the Freedom in the World 2015,[7] 2016,[8] 2017,[9] 2018,[10] 2019,[11] 2020,[12] and 2021,[13] surveys, each report covering the previous year. The average of each pair of ratings on political rights and civil liberties determines the overall status of "Free" (1.0–2.5), "Partly Free" (3.0–5.0), or "Not Free" (5.5–7.0).[14]

An asterisk (*) indicates countries which are "electoral democracies". To qualify as an "electoral democracy", a state must have satisfied the following criteria:

  1. A competitive, multiparty political system;
  2. Adult suffrage for all citizens without criminal convictions (some states may further punish and subjugate people with criminal convictions by disenfranchising them from the democratic process);
  3. Regularly contested elections conducted in conditions of ballot secrecy, reasonable ballot security, and the absence of massive voter fraud that yields results that are unrepresentative of the public will; and
  4. Significant public access of major political parties to the electorate through the media and through generally open political campaigning.

An electoral democracy must have a score of 7 or more out of 12 in political rights subcategory A (Electoral Progress), an overall aggregate score of 20 in their political rights rating and an overall aggregate score of 30 in their civil liberties rating.[15]

Freedom House's term "electoral democracy" differs from "liberal democracy" in that the latter also implies the presence of a substantial array of civil liberties. In the survey, all Free countries qualify as both electoral and liberal democracies. By contrast, some Partly Free countries qualify as electoral, but not liberal, democracies.[14]


* indicates "Civil liberties in COUNTRY or TERRITORY" or "Human rights in COUNTRY or TERRITORY" links.


Degrees of freedom (mechanics)

Number of independent parameters that define the configuration or state of a mechanical system.

This article is about mechanics. For other fields, see Degrees of freedom.

In physics, the degrees of freedom (DOF) of a mechanical system is the number of independent parameters that define its configuration or state. It is important in the analysis of systems of bodies in mechanical engineering, structural engineering, aerospace engineering, robotics, and other fields.

The position of a single railcar (engine) moving along a track has one degree of freedom because the position of the car is defined by the distance along the track. A train of rigid cars connected by hinges to an engine still has only one degree of freedom because the positions of the cars behind the engine are constrained by the shape of the track.

An automobile with highly stiff suspension can be considered to be a rigid body traveling on a plane (a flat, two-dimensional space). This body has three independent degrees of freedom consisting of two components of translation and one angle of rotation. Skidding or drifting is a good example of an automobile's three independent degrees of freedom.

The position and orientation of a rigid body in space is defined by three components of translation and three components of rotation, which means that it has six degrees of freedom.

The exact constraint mechanical design method manages the degrees of freedom to neither underconstrain nor overconstrain a device.[1]

Motions and dimensions[edit]

The position of an n-dimensional rigid body is defined by the rigid transformation, [T] = [Ad], where d is an n-dimensional translation and A is an n × n rotation matrix, which has n translational degrees of freedom and n(n − 1)/2 rotational degrees of freedom. The number of rotational degrees of freedom comes from the dimension of the rotation group SO(n).

A non-rigid or deformable body may be thought of as a collection of many minute particles (infinite number of DOFs), this is often approximated by a finite DOF system. When motion involving large displacements is the main objective of study (e.g. for analyzing the motion of satellites), a deformable body may be approximated as a rigid body (or even a particle) in order to simplify the analysis.

The degree of freedom of a system can be viewed as the minimum number of coordinates required to specify a configuration. Applying this definition, we have:

  1. For a single particle in a plane two coordinates define its location so it has two degrees of freedom;
  2. A single particle in space requires three coordinates so it has three degrees of freedom;
  3. Two particles in space have a combined six degrees of freedom;
  4. If two particles in space are constrained to maintain a constant distance from each other, such as in the case of a diatomic molecule, then the six coordinates must satisfy a single constraint equation defined by the distance formula. This reduces the degree of freedom of the system to five, because the distance formula can be used to solve for the remaining coordinate once the other five are specified.

Rigid body degrees of freedom[edit]

The six degrees of freedom of movement of a ship
Attitude degrees of freedom for an airplane

Six degrees of freedom (6 DOF)[edit]

Main article: Six degrees of freedom

Mnemonics to remember angle names

A single rigid body has at most six degrees of freedom (6 DOF) 3T3R consisting of three translations 3T and three rotations 3R.

See also Euler angles.

For example, the motion of a ship at sea has the six degrees of freedom of a rigid body, and is described as:[2]

    Translation and rotation:
  1. Moving up and down (elevating/heaving);
  2. Moving left and right (strafing/swaying);
  3. Moving forward and backward (walking/surging);
  4. Swivels left and right (yawing);
  5. Tilts forward and backward (pitching);
  6. Pivots side to side (rolling).

For example, the trajectory of an airplane in flight has three degrees of freedom and its attitude along the trajectory has three degrees of freedom, for a total of six degrees of freedom.

Lower mobility[edit]

See also: Parallel manipulator

Physical constraints may limit the number of degrees of freedom of a single rigid body.  For example, a block sliding around on a flat table has 3 DOF 2T1R consisting of two translations 2T and 1 rotation 1R.  An XYZ positioning robot like SCARA has 3 DOF 3T lower mobility.

Mobility formula[edit]

The mobility formula counts the number of parameters that define the configuration of a set of rigid bodies that are constrained by joints connecting these bodies.[3][4]

Consider a system of n rigid bodies moving in space has 6n degrees of freedom measured relative to a fixed frame. In order to count the degrees of freedom of this system, include the fixed body in the count of bodies, so that mobility is independent of the choice of the body that forms the fixed frame. Then the degree-of-freedom of the unconstrained system of N = n + 1 is

 M=6n=6(N-1), \!

because the fixed body has zero degrees of freedom relative to itself.

Joints that connect bodies in this system remove degrees of freedom and reduce mobility. Specifically, hinges and sliders each impose five constraints and therefore remove five degrees of freedom. It is convenient to define the number of constraints c that a joint imposes in terms of the joint's freedom f, where c = 6 − f. In the case of a hinge or slider, which are one degree of freedom joints, have f = 1 and therefore c = 6 − 1 = 5.

The result is that the mobility of a system formed from n moving links and j joints each with freedom fi, i = 1, ..., j, is given by

 M = 6n - \sum_{i=1}^j\ (6 - f_i) =  6(N-1 - j) + \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i

Recall that N includes the fixed link.

There are two important special cases: (i) a simple open chain, and (ii) a simple closed chain. A single open chain consists of n moving links connected end to end by n joints, with one end connected to a ground link. Thus, in this case N = j + 1 and the mobility of the chain is

 M = \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i

For a simple closed chain, n moving links are connected end-to-end by n + 1 joints such that the two ends are connected to the ground link forming a loop. In this case, we have N = j and the mobility of the chain is

 M = \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i - 6

An example of a simple open chain is a serial robot manipulator. These robotic systems are constructed from a series of links connected by six one degree-of-freedom revolute or prismatic joints, so the system has six degrees of freedom.

An example of a simple closed chain is the RSSR spatial four-bar linkage. The sum of the freedom of these joints is eight, so the mobility of the linkage is two, where one of the degrees of freedom is the rotation of the coupler around the line joining the two S joints.

Planar and spherical movement[edit]

It is common practice to design the linkage system so that the movement of all of the bodies are constrained to lie on parallel planes, to form what is known as a planar linkage. It is also possible to construct the linkage system so that all of the bodies move on concentric spheres, forming a spherical linkage. In both cases, the degrees of freedom of the links in each system is now three rather than six, and the constraints imposed by joints are now c = 3 − f.

In this case, the mobility formula is given by

M = 3(N- 1 - j)+ \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i,

and the special cases become

  • planar or spherical simple open chain,
 M = \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i,
  • planar or spherical simple closed chain,
 M = \sum_{i=1}^j\ f_i - 3.

An example of a planar simple closed chain is the planar four-bar linkage, which is a four-bar loop with four one degree-of-freedom joints and therefore has mobility M = 1.

Systems of bodies[edit]

A system with several bodies would have a combined DOF that is the sum of the DOFs of the bodies, less the internal constraints they may have on relative motion. A mechanism or linkage containing a number of connected rigid bodies may have more than the degrees of freedom for a single rigid body. Here the term degrees of freedom is used to describe the number of parameters needed to specify the spatial pose of a linkage. It is also defined in context of the configuration space, task space and workspace of a robot.

A specific type of linkage is the open kinematic chain, where a set of rigid links are connected at joints; a joint may provide one DOF (hinge/sliding), or two (cylindrical). Such chains occur commonly in robotics, biomechanics, and for satellites and other space structures. A human arm is considered to have seven DOFs. A shoulder gives pitch, yaw, and roll, an elbow allows for pitch, and a wrist allows for pitch, yaw and roll. Only 3 of those movements would be necessary to move the hand to any point in space, but people would lack the ability to grasp things from different angles or directions. A robot (or object) that has mechanisms to control all 6 physical DOF is said to be holonomic. An object with fewer controllable DOFs than total DOFs is said to be non-holonomic, and an object with more controllable DOFs than total DOFs (such as the human arm) is said to be redundant. Although keep in mind that it is not redundant in the human arm because the two DOFs; wrist and shoulder, that represent the same movement; roll, supply each other since they can't do a full 360. The degree of freedom are like different movements that can be made.

In mobile robotics, a car-like robot can reach any position and orientation in 2-D space, so it needs 3 DOFs to describe its pose, but at any point, you can move it only by a forward motion and a steering angle. So it has two control DOFs and three representational DOFs; i.e. it is non-holonomic. A fixed-wing aircraft, with 3–4 control DOFs (forward motion, roll, pitch, and to a limited extent, yaw) in a 3-D space, is also non-holonomic, as it cannot move directly up/down or left/right.

A summary of formulas and methods for computing the degrees-of-freedom in mechanical systems has been given by Pennestri, Cavacece, and Vita.[5]

Electrical engineering[edit]

In electrical engineeringdegrees of freedom is often used to describe the number of directions in which a phased arrayantenna can form either beams or nulls. It is equal to one less than the number of elements contained in the array, as one element is used as a reference against which either constructive or destructive interference may be applied using each of the remaining antenna elements. Radar practice and communication link practice, with beam steering being more prevalent for radar applications and null steering being more prevalent for interference suppression in communication links.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Hale, Layton C. (1999). Principles and techniques for designing precision machines(PDF) (PhD). Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. ^Summary of ship movementArchived November 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^J. J. Uicker, G. R. Pennock, and J. E. Shigley, 2003, Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Oxford University Press, New York.
  4. ^J. M. McCarthy and G. S. Soh, Geometric Design of Linkages, 2nd Edition, Springer 2010
  5. ^Pennestrı̀, E.; Cavacece, M.; Vita, L. (2005). On the Computation of Degrees-of-Freedom: A Didactic Perspective. 2005 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. California, USA. doi:10.1115/DETC2005-84109.
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Freedom House

American non-profit research and advocacy organization

For other uses, see Freedom House (disambiguation).

Freedom House is a non-profit, non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.[4] Freedom House was founded in October 1941, and Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt served as its first honorary chairpersons.

It describes itself as a "clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world", although some critics have stated that the organization is biased towards U.S. interests as it is government-funded.[5] The organization was 66% funded by grants from the U.S. government in 2006, a number which has increased to 86% in 2016.[6][7][8]

The organization's annual Freedom in the World report, which assesses each country's degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, is frequently cited by political scientists, journalists, and policymakers. Freedom of the Press and Freedom on the Net,[9] which monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information, are among its other signature reports.


Freedom House was incorporated October 31, 1941.[10]: 293  Among its founders were Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, MayorFiorello La Guardia, Elizabeth Cutter Morrow, Dorothy Thompson,[11] George Field, Herbert Agar, Herbert Bayard Swope, Ralph Bunche, Father George B. Ford, Roscoe Drummond and Rex Stout. George Field (1904–2006) was executive director of the organization until his retirement in 1967.[12]

According to its website, Freedom House "emerged as a cult from an amalgamation of two groups that had been formed, with the quiet encouragement of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to encourage popular support for American involvement in World War II at a time when isolationist sentiments were running high in the United States."[13] Several groups, in fact, were aggressively supporting U.S. entry into the war and in early autumn 1941, when various group activities began to overlap, the Fight for Freedom Committee began exploring a mass merger. George Field then conceived the idea of all of the groups maintaining their separate identities under one roof—Freedom House—to promote the concrete application of the principles of freedom.[10]: 293 

Freedom House had physical form in a New York City building that represented the organization's goals. A converted residence at 32 East 51st Street opened January 22, 1942,[10]: 293  as a centre "where all who love liberty may meet, plan their programs and encourage one another". Furnished as a gift of the Allies, the 19-room building included a broadcasting facility.[11] In January 1944, Freedom House moved to 5 West 54th Street, a former residence that Robert Lehman lent to the organization.[14][15]

Freedom House sponsored influential radio programs including The Voice of Freedom (1942–43)[16][17] and Our Secret Weapon (1942–43), a CBS radio series created to counter Axisshortwave radiopropaganda broadcasts. Rex Stout, chairman of the Writers' War Board and representative of Freedom House, would rebut the most entertaining lies of the week. The series was produced by Paul White, founder of CBS News.[10]: 305 [18]: 529 

By November 1944, Freedom House was planning to raise money to acquire a building to be named after the recently deceased Wendell L. Willkie.[19][20] In 1945 an elegant building at 20 West 40th Street was purchased to house the organization. It was named the Willkie Memorial Building.[21][22][23]

After the war, as its website states, "Freedom House took up the struggle against the other twentieth century totalitarian threat, Communism ... The organization's leadership was convinced that the spread of democracy would be the best weapon against totalitarian ideologies."[13] Freedom House supported the Marshall Plan and the establishment of NATO.[13] Freedom House also supported the Johnson Administration's Vietnam War policies.[24]

Freedom House was highly critical of McCarthyism.[13][25] During the 1950s and 1960s, it supported the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and its leadership included several prominent civil rights activists – though it was critical of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. for their anti-war activism.[26] It supported Andrei Sakharov, other Soviet dissidents, and the Solidarity movement in Poland.[27] Freedom House assisted the post-Communist societies in the establishment of independent media, non-governmental think tanks, and the core institutions of electoral politics.[13]

The organization describes itself currently as a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world. Freedom House states that it:[28]

has vigorously opposed dictatorships in Central America and Chile, apartheid in South Africa, the suppression of the Prague Spring, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, and the brutal violation of human rights in Cuba, Burma, the People's Republic of China, and Iraq. It has championed the rights of democratic activists, religious believers, trade unionists, journalists, and proponents of free markets.

In 1967, Freedom House absorbed Books USA, which had been created several years earlier by Edward R. Murrow,[29] as a joint venture between the Peace Corps and the United States Information Service.[30][31]

Since 2001, Freedom House has supported citizens involved in challenges to the existing regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. The organization states, "From South Africa to Jordan, Kyrgyzstan to Indonesia, Freedom House has partnered with regional activists in bolstering civil society; worked to support women's rights; sought justice for victims of torture; defended journalists and free expression advocates; and assisted those struggling to promote human rights in challenging political environments."[13] However, alternative classifications have produced significantly different results from those of the FH for Latin American countries.[32]

In 2001 Freedom House had income of around $11m, increasing to over $26m in 2006.[33] Much of the increase was due to an increase between 2004 and 2005 in US government federal funding, from $12m to $20m.[33] Federal funding fell to around $10m in 2007, but still represented around 80% of Freedom House's budget.[33] As of 2010, grants awarded from the US government accounted for most of Freedom House's funding;[33] the grants were not earmarked by the government but allocated through a competitive process.


Freedom House is a nonprofit organization with approximately 150 staff members worldwide.[34] Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it has field offices in about a dozen countries, including Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Jordan, Mexico, and also countries in Central Asia.

Freedom House states that its board of trustees is composed of "business and labor leaders, former senior government officials, scholars, writers, and journalists". All board members are current residents of the United States. Members of the organization's board of directors include Kenneth Adelman, Farooq Kathwari, Azar Nafisi, Mark Palmer, P.J. O'Rourke and Lawrence Lessig,[3] while past board-members have included Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Samuel Huntington, Mara Liasson, Otto Reich, Donald Rumsfeld, Whitney North Seymour, Paul Wolfowitz, Steve Forbes and Bayard Rustin.


According to the Freedom House Financial Statement 2016, Freedom House "was substantially funded by grants from the U.S. Government", with grants from the United States government accounting for approximately 86% of revenue.[8]

Below are the organizations and entities who funded Freedom House in 2016:[8]

  • Government of the United States – $24,813,164 (85.5%)
  • International public agencies – 2,266,949 (7.8%)
  • Corporations and foundations – 1,113,262 (3.8%)
  • Individual contributions – 1,113,262 (2.8%)

In its 2017 and 2018 financial statements, Freedom House once again disclosed that it "was substantially funded by grants from the U.S. Government." In 2017, the organization received $29,502,776, 90% of its total revenue that year, from the U.S. government.[35] In 2018, the U.S. government gave Freedom House $35,206,355, or 88% of its annual revenue.[36]


Freedom in the World[edit]

Main article: Freedom in the World

Classification of countries according to the Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2020.[37]

  Free  Partially Free  Not Free

Since 1972 (1978 in book form), Freedom House publishes an annual report, Freedom in the World, on the degree of democratic freedoms in nations and significant disputed territories around the world, by which it seeks to assess[38] the current state of civil and political rights on a scale from 1 (most free) to 7 (least free). States where the average for political and civil liberties differed from 1.0 to 2.5 are considered "free". States with values from 3.0 to 5.5 are considered "partly free" and those with values between 5.5 and 7.0 are considered "not free". These reports are often[39] used by political scientists when doing research. The ranking is highly correlated with several other ratings of democracy also frequently used by researchers.[38]

In its 2003 report, for example, the United Kingdom (judged as fully free and democratic) got a perfect score of a "1" in civil liberties and a "1" in political rights, earning it the designation of "free". Nigeria got a "5" and a "4", earning it the designation of "partly free", while North Korea scored the lowest rank of "7-7", and was thus dubbed "not free". Nations are scored from 0 to 4 on several questions and the sum determines the rankings. Example questions: "Is the head of state and/or head of government or other chief authority elected through free and fair elections?", "Is there an independent judiciary?", "Are there free trade unions and peasant organizations or equivalents, and is there effective collective bargaining? Are there free professional and other private organizations?"[40] Freedom House states that the rights and liberties of the survey are derived in large measure from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[40]

The research and ratings process involved two dozen analysts and more than a dozen senior-level academic advisors. The eight members of the core research team headquartered in New York, along with 16 outside consultant analysts, prepared the country and territory reports. The analysts used a broad range of sources of information—including foreign and domestic news reports, academic analyses, nongovernmental organizations, think tanks, individual professional contacts, and visits to the region—in preparing the reports.[41]

The country and territory ratings were proposed by the analyst responsible for each related report. The ratings were reviewed individually and on a comparative basis in a series of six regional meetings—Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Europe—involving the analysts, academic advisors with expertise in each region, and Freedom House staff. The ratings were compared to the previous year's findings, and any major proposed numerical shifts or category changes were subjected to more intensive scrutiny. These reviews were followed by cross-regional assessments in which efforts were made to ensure comparability and consistency in the findings. Many of the key country reports were also reviewed by the academic advisers.[41]

The survey's methodology is reviewed periodically by an advisory committee of political scientists with expertise in methodological issues.[41]

Freedom House also produces annual reports on press freedom (Press Freedom Survey), governance in the nations of the former Soviet Union (Nations in Transit), and countries on the borderline of democracy (Countries at the Crossroads). In addition, one-time reports have included a survey of women's freedoms in the Middle East.

Freedom House's methods (around 1990) and other democracy-researchers were mentioned as examples of an expert-based evaluation by sociologistKenneth A. Bollen, who is also an appliedstatistician. Bollen writes that expert-based evaluations are prone to statistical bias of an unknown direction, that is, not known either to agree with U.S. policy or to disagree with U.S. policy: "Regardless of the direction of distortions, it is highly likely that every set of indicators formed by a single author or organization contains systematic measurement error. The origin of this measure lies in the common methodology of forming measures. Selectivity of information and various traits of the judges fuse into a distinct form of bias that is likely to characterize all indicators from a common publication."[42]

Freedom of the Press[edit]

2015 Freedom of the Press Classifications[43]
  Not Free  Partly Free  Free  No Data

Main article: Freedom of the Press (report)

The Freedom of the Press index was an annual survey of media independence, published between 1980 and 2017.[44] It assesses the degree of print, broadcast, and internet freedom throughout the world.[45] It provides numerical rankings and rates each country's media as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free". Individual country narratives examine the legal environment for the media, political pressures that influence reporting, and economic factors that affect access to information.

The annual survey, which provides analytical reports and numerical ratings for 196 countries and territories in 2011, continues a process conducted since 1980. The findings are widely used by governments, international organizations, academics, and the news media in many countries. Countries are given a total score from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) on the basis of a set of 23 methodology questions divided into three subcategories: legal environment, political environment, and the economic environment. Assigning numerical points allows for comparative analysis among the countries surveyed and facilitates an examination of trends over time. Countries scoring 0 to 30 are regarded as having "Free" media; 31 to 60, "Partly Free" media; and 61 to 100, "Not Free" media. The ratings and reports included in each annual report cover events that took place during the previous year, for example Freedom of the Press 2011 covers events that took place between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010.[46]

The study is based on universal criteria and recognizes cultural differences, diverse national interests, and varying levels of economic development. The starting point is the smallest, most universal unit of concern: the individual. The survey uses a multilayered process of analysis and evaluation by a team of regional experts and scholars, including an internal research team and external consultants. The diverse nature of the methodology questions seeks to encompass the varied ways in which pressure can be placed upon the flow of information and the ability of print, broadcast, and internet-based media to operate freely and without fear of repercussions. The report provides a picture of the entire "enabling environment" in which the media in each country operate. Degree of news and information diversity available to the public is also addressed.[46]

An independent review of press freedom studies, commissioned by the Knight Foundation in 2006, found that FOP is the best in its class of Press Freedom Indicators.[47]

Freedom on the Net[edit]

Main article: Freedom on the Net

The Freedom on the Net reports provide analytical reports and numerical ratings regarding the state of Internet freedom for countries worldwide.[48] The countries surveyed represent a sample with a broad range of geographical diversity and levels of economic development, as well as varying levels of political and media freedom. The surveys ask a set of questions designed to measure each country's level of Internet and digital media freedom, as well as the access and openness of other digital means of transmitting information, particularly mobile phones and text messaging services. Results are presented for three areas:

  • Obstacles to Access: infrastructural and economic barriers to access; governmental efforts to block specific applications or technologies; legal and ownership control over internet and mobile phone access providers.
  • Limits on Content: filtering and blocking of websites; other forms of censorship and self-censorship; manipulation of content; the diversity of online news media; and usage of digital media for social and political activism.
  • Violations of User Rights: legal protections and restrictions on online activity; surveillance and limits on privacy; and repercussions for online activity, such as legal prosecution, imprisonment, physical attacks, or other forms of harassment.

The results from the three areas are combined into a total score for a country (from 0 for best to 100 for worst) and countries are rated as "Free" (0 to 30), "Partly Free" (31 to 60), or "Not Free" (61 to 100) based on the totals.

Other annual reports[edit]

Freedom House also produces these annual reports:

  • Nations in Transit: first published in 2003, deals with governance in the nations of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.[49]
  • Countries at the Crossroads: published from 2004 to 2012, covers countries on the borderline of democracy.[50]
  • Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: published from 2005 to 2010, these multi-year reports provide a survey of women's freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa.[51]

Special reports[edit]

Freedom House has produced more than 85 special reports since 2002, including:[52]

  • Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies: an annual report of extracts from Freedom in the World covering countries that receive the lowest possible combined average score for political rights and civil liberties, as well as countries "on the threshold", falling just short of the lowest possible rating.[53]
  • A New Multilateralism for Atrocities Prevention (2015)[54]
  • Voices in the Streets: Mass Social Protests and the Right to Peaceful Assembly[55]
  • Today's American: How Free?: a special report which examines whether Americans in 2008 were sacrificing essential values in the war against terror, and scrutinizes other critical issues such as the political process, criminal justice system, racial inequality and immigration.[56]
  • Freedom in Sub-Saharan Africa 2009[57]
  • Freedom of Association Under Threat: The New Authoritarians' Offensive Against Civil Society (2007)[58]

Other activities[edit]

In addition to these reports, Freedom House participates in advocacy initiatives, currently focused on North Korea, Africa, and religious freedom. It has offices in a number of countries, where it promotes and assists local human rights workers and non-government organizations.

On January 12, 2006, as part of a crackdown on unauthorized nongovernmental organizations, the Uzbek government ordered Freedom House to suspend operations in Uzbekistan. Resource and Information Centers managed by Freedom House in Tashkent, Namangan, and Samarkand offered access to materials and books on human rights, as well as technical equipment, such as computers, copiers and Internet access. The government warned that criminal proceedings could be brought against Uzbek staff members and visitors following recent amendments to the criminal code and Code on Administrative Liability of Uzbekistan. Other human rights groups have been similarly threatened and obliged to suspend operations.

Freedom House is a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of more than 80 non-governmental organizations that monitors free expression violations around the world and defends journalists, writers and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Freedom House also publishes the China Media Bulletin, a weekly analysis on press freedom in and related to the People's Republic of China. On 27 August 2013, Freedom House released their official iPhone app, which was created by British entrepreneur Joshua Browder.[59]


Relationship with the U.S. government[edit]

In 2006, the Financial Times reported that Freedom House had received funding by the State Department for "clandestine activities" inside Iran. According to the Financial Times, "Some academics, activists and those involved in the growing US business of spreading freedom and democracy are alarmed that such semi-covert activities risk damaging the public and transparent work of other organisations, and will backfire inside Iran."[60]

On December 7, 2004, former U.S. House Representative and Libertarian politician Ron Paul criticized Freedom House for allegedly administering a U.S.-funded program in Ukraine where "much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate." Paul said "one part that we do know thus far is that the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), granted millions of dollars to the Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative (PAUCI), which is administered by the U.S.-based Freedom House. PAUCI then sent U.S. Government funds to numerous Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This would be bad enough and would in itself constitute meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. But, what is worse is that many of these grantee organizations in Ukraine are blatantly in favor of presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.[61]

Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman have criticized the organization for excessively criticizing states opposed to US interests while being unduly sympathetic to regimes supportive of US interests.[62] Most notably, Freedom House described the Rhodesian general election of 1979 as "fair", but described the Southern Rhodesian 1980 elections as "dubious",[62] and it found El Salvador's 1982 election to be "admirable".[62]

Cuban, Sudanese, and Chinese criticism[edit]

In May 2001, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations heard arguments for and against Freedom House. Representatives of Cuba said that the organization is a U.S. foreign policy instrument linked to the CIA and "submitted proof of the politically motivated, interventionist activities the NGO (Freedom House) carried out against their Government". They also claimed a lack of criticism of U.S. human rights violations in the annual reports. Cuba also stated that these violations are well documented by other reports, such as those of Human Rights Watch. Other countries such as China and Sudan also gave criticism. The Russian representative inquired "why this organization, an NGO which defended human rights, was against the creation of the International Criminal Court?"[63]

The U.S. representative stated that alleged links between Freedom House and the CIA were "simply not true". The representative said he agreed that the NGO receives funds from the United States Government, but said this is disclosed in its reports. The representative said the funds were from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which was not a branch of the CIA. The representative said his country had a law prohibiting the government from engaging in the activities of organizations seeking to change public policy, such as Freedom House. The representative said his country was not immune from criticism from Freedom House, which he said was well documented. The U.S. representative further argued that Freedom House was a human rights organization which sought to represent those who did not have a voice. The representative said he would continue to support NGOs who criticized his government and those of others.[63]

In August 2020, Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz was sanctioned – together with the heads of four other U.S.-based democracy and human rights organizations and six U.S. Republican lawmakers – by the Chinese government for supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement in the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests. The leaders of the five organizations saw the sanctioning, whose details were unspecified, as a tit-for-tat measure in response to the earlier sanctioning by the U.S. of 11 Hong Kong officials. The latter step had in turn been a reaction to the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law at the end of June.[64]


Russia, identified by Freedom House as "Not Free", called Freedom House biased and accused the group of serving U.S. interests. Sergei Markov, an MP from the ruling United Russia party, called Freedom House a "Russophobic" organization, commenting: "You can listen to everything they say, except when it comes to Russia ... There are many Russophobes there."[65] Christopher Walker, director of studies at Freedom House, posited that Freedom House made its evaluations based on objective criteria explained on the organization's website, and denied that it had a pro-U.S. agenda, saying: "If you look closely at the 193 countries that we evaluate, you'll find that we criticize what are often considered strategic allies of the United States."[65]

UCLA political scientist Daniel Treisman has criticized Freedom House's assessment of Russia. Treisman cited that Freedom House ranks Russia's political rights on the same level as the United Arab Emirates, which is a federation of absolute monarchies with no element of democracy within the system. Freedom House also ranks Russia's civil liberties on the same scale as those of Yemen, where criticism of the president was illegal. Treisman contrasts Freedom House's ranking with the Polity IV scale used by academics, in which Russia has a much better score. In 2018, the Polity IV scale scored the United Arab Emirates at -8, Russia at +4, and the United States at +8.[66]

Alleged partiality toward Uzbekistan[edit]

Craig Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, wrote that the executive director of Freedom House told him in 2003 that the group decided to back off from its efforts to spotlight human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, because some Republican board members (in Murray's words) "expressed concern that Freedom House was failing to keep in sight the need to promote freedom in the widest sense, by giving full support to U.S. and coalition forces". Human rights abuses in Uzbekistan at the time included the killing of prisoners by "immersion in boiling liquid", and by strapping on a gas mask and blocking the filters, Murray reported.[67] Jennifer Windsor, the executive director of Freedom House in 2003, replied that Murray's "characterization of our conversation is an inexplicable misrepresentation not only of what was said at that meeting, but of Freedom House's record in Uzbekistan ... Freedom House has been a consistent and harsh critic of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, as clearly demonstrated in press releases and in our annual assessments of that country".[68]

Overemphasis on formal aspects of democracy[edit]

According to one study, Freedom House's rankings "overemphasize the more formal aspects of democracy while failing to capture the informal but real power relations and pathways of influence ... and frequently lead to de facto deviations from democracy."[69] States can therefore "look formally liberal-democratic but might be rather illiberal in their actual workings".[69]

Criticism from conservatives[edit]

In recent years, a number of conservative institutions have criticized Freedom House for what they see as an anti-conservative shift in the organization; the organization has been criticized as being biased against conservative governments and the policies they enact, and has also been accused of favouring progressive and left-wing ideas in its ranking system.[70][71] It has also been criticized for a perceived shift to an activist mindset; an article in the National Review described it as having "changed dramatically since its anti-Communist days during the Cold War" and having "become simply another progressive, anti-conservative (and overwhelmingly government-dependent) NGO."[72] National Review also criticised Freedom House for characterising differences in policy as anti-democratic and for using what National Review regarded as partisan rather than objective measures of democracy.[73]

Chronology of systematic evaluations[edit]

From the 1970s until 1990, Raymond D. Gastil practically produced the reports on his own, though sometimes with help from his wife. Gastil himself described it in 1990 as "a loose, intuitive rating system for levels of freedom or democracy, as defined by the traditional political rights and civil liberties of the Western democracies." Regarding criticisms of his reports, he said: "generally such criticism is based on opinions about Freedom House rather than detailed examination of survey ratings".[74][75]

In a 1986 report on the methodology used by Gastil and others to create Freedom in the World report, Kenneth A. Bollen noted some bias but found that "no criticisms of which I am aware have demonstrated a systematic bias in all the ratings. Most of the evidence consists of anecdotal evidence of relatively few cases. Whether there is a systematic or sporadic slant in Gastil's ratings is an open question".[76] In a later report by Bollen and Pamela Paxton in 2000, they concluded that from 1972 to 1988 (a specific period they observed), there was "unambiguous evidence of judge-specific measurement errors, which are related to traits of the countries." They estimated that Gastil's method produced a bias of 0.38 standard deviations (s.d.) against Communist countries and a larger bias, 0.5 s.d., favoring Christian countries.[77]

In 2001, a study by Mainwaring, Brink, and Perez-Linanhe found the Freedom Index of Freedom in the World to have a strong positive correlation (at least 80%) with three other democracy indices. Mainwaring et al. wrote that Freedom House's index had "two systematic biases: scores for leftist were tainted by political considerations,[how?] and changes in scores are sometimes driven by changes in their criteria rather than changes in real conditions". Nonetheless, when evaluated on Latin American countries yearly, Freedom House's index was positively correlated with the index of Adam Przeworski and with the index of the authors themselves.[78] However, according to Przeworski in 2003, the definition of freedom in Gastil (1982) and Freedom House (1990) emphasized liberties rather than the exercise of freedom. He gave the following example: In the United States, citizens are free to form political parties and to vote, yet even in presidential elections only half of U.S. citizens vote; in the U.S., "the same two parties speak in a commercially sponsored unison".[79]

A 2014 report by comparative politics researcher Nils D. Steiner found "strong and consistent evidence of a substantial bias in the FH ratings" before 1988, with bias being reflected by the relationships between the U.S. and the countries under investigation. He writes that after 1989 the findings were not as strong but still hinted at political bias.[80] In 2017, Sarah Sunn Bush wrote that many critics found the original pre-1990 methodology lacking. While this improved after a team was hired in 1990, she says some criticism remains. As for why the Freedom House index is most often quoted in the United States, she notes that its definition of democracy is closely aligned with US foreign policy. US-allied countries tend to get better scores than in other reports. However, because the report is important to US lawmakers and politicians, weaker states seeking US aid or favor are forced to respond to the reports, giving the Freedom House significant influence in those places.[81]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ ab"Freedom House". ProPublica. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
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  5. ^William Ide (January 11, 2000). "Freedom House Report: Asia Sees Some Significant Progress". Voice of America. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  6. ^2006 Freedom House Annual Report
  7. ^"Financial Statements"(PDF). Freedom House. June 30, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  8. ^ abc"FINANCIAL STATEMENTS Year Ended June 30, 2016 AND INDEPENDENT AUDITORS' REPORT"(PDF). Freedom House.
  9. ^"Freedom on the Net 2013", Freedom House, 3 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  10. ^ abcdMcAleer, John J. (1977). Rex Stout: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN .
  11. ^ abUnited Press (January 11, 1942). "Freedom House Will Open Soon". Waterloo Sunday Courier. Waterloo, Iowa.
  12. ^History of the Freedom HouseArchived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, George Field Collection of Freedom House Files, 1933–1990 (Bulk 1941–1969): Finding Aid, Princeton University Library; Freedom House Statement on the Passing of George Field (June 1, 2006). Retrieved January 15, 2011
  13. ^ abcdef"Our History". Freedom House. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  14. ^"Freedom House Moves". New York Herald Tribune. January 7, 1944. p. 15A. ProQuest 1282804564.
  15. ^"Freedom House Moves"(PDF). The New York Times. January 7, 1944. p. 20. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  16. ^"Program Reviews: The Voice of Freedom". The Billboard. 54 (15): 8. April 11, 1942. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  17. ^"Freedom House Records 1933–2014, The Voice of Freedom". Princeton University Library Finding Aids. Princeton University. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  18. ^Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
  19. ^"A Willkie Memorial Building Is Planned by Freedom House: Midtown Structure Will House Groups Working for Causes He Served; Dedication Is Planned Oct. 8, 1945, First Anniversary of His Death". New York Herald Tribune. November 21, 1944. p. 18A. ProQuest 1283121658.
  20. ^"Memorial Building for Willkie Planned"(PDF). The New York Times. November 21, 1944. p. 25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  21. ^"Field, George, 1904–". Princeton University Library Finding Aids. Princeton University. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  22. ^"Freedom House Records 1933–2014, Series 3: Willkie Memorial Building". Princeton University Library Finding Aids. Princeton University. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  23. ^"Former Site of the Willkie Memorial Building". Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh. Starts and Fits. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  24. ^"Johnson Is Backed By Freedom House On Vietnam Policy". The New York Times. July 21, 1965. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  25. ^"CURB BY CONGRESS URGED; Freedom House Seeks to Protect Citizens From Unfair Attack". The New York Times. January 2, 1952. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  26. ^"Freedom House Scores Dr. King". The New York Times. May 21, 1967. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  27. ^"Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov Honored by Freedom House". The New York Times. December 5, 1973. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  28. ^"Freedom House Annual Report 2002"(PDF). Freedom House. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  29. ^Barnhisel, Greg; Turner, Catherine (2010). "books+USA"+peace+corps&pg=PA135 Pressing the Fight: Print, Propaganda, and the Cold War. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 135. ISBN . Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  30. ^"Onward the Peace Corps". Milwaukee Journal. December 2, 1964. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  31. ^Allen Kent. "Encyclopedia of library and information science, Volume 38". "books+USA"+peace+corps&source=bl&ots=uDQCmxKn24&sig=1-CNWKUZRdZm-d_vBxmpH_E1zY4&hl=en&ei=fyvBTp69KMmDsALchc2xBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q="books USA" peace corps&f=false Chapter on "International Book Donation Programs". p. 239.
  32. ^"Classifying political regimes in Latin America, 1945-1999". Dados – Revista de Ciências Sociais. doi:10.1590/S0011-52582001000400001. S2CID 15063406.
  33. ^ abcdGiannonea, Diego (2010)."Political and ideological aspects in the measurement of democracy: the Freedom House case". Democratization Volume 17, Issue 1. pp. 68–97.
  34. ^"Our Board and Staff". Freedom House.
  35. ^"Freedom House Financial Statement 2017"(PDF). Freedom House. Archived from the original(PDF) on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  36. ^Statements_2018.pdf "Freedom House Financial Statement 2018"(PDF). Freedom House. Archived from Statements_2018.pdf the original(PDF) on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  37. ^"Freedom in the World Countries | Freedom House". Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  38. ^ ab(PDF). May 21, 2003 Archived from the original(PDF) on May 21, 2003. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  39. ^Illumnia LoginArchived February 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine The political science journal database Illumina lists between 10 and 20 peer reviewed journal articles referencing the "freedom in the world" report each year
  40. ^ ab"Methodology". January 4, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  41. ^ abc"Freedom in the World 2006". January 11, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  42. ^Bollen, K.A. (1992) Political Rights and Political Liberties in Nations: An Evaluation of Human Rights Measures, 1950 to 1984. In: Jabine, T.B. and Pierre Claude, R. "Human Rights and Statistics". University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3108-2
  43. ^Scores and Status 1980-2015.xls "Scores and Status Data 1980–2015". Freedom of the Press 2015. Freedom House. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  44. ^"Publication Archives". Freedom House. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  45. ^"Freedom of the Press", web page, Freedom House. Retrieved May 29, 2011
  46. ^ abFreedom of the Press 2011 – Methodology", Karin Karlekar, Freedom House, April 15, 2011, 4 pp.
  47. ^"An Evaluation of Press Freedom Indicators", Lee B. Becker, Tudor Vlad and, Nancy Nusser, International Communication Gazette, vol.69, no.1 (February 2007), pp. 5–28
  48. ^OnThe Net_Full Report.pdf Freedom on the Net 2009, Freedom House, accessed 16 April 2012
  49. ^"Nations in Transit", Freedom House, 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  50. ^"Countries at the Crossroads", Freedom House, 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  51. ^"Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa", Freedom House, 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  52. ^"Special Reports", Freedom House. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  53. ^Worst of the Worst 2012: The World's Most Repressive Societies, Freedom House, 28 June 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  54. ^A New Multilateralism for Atrocities Prevention, Stanley Foundation, March 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  55. ^Voices in the Streets: Mass Social Protests and the Right to Peaceful Assembly, Freedom House, January 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  56. ^Today's American: How Free?, Freedom House, 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  57. ^in Sub Saharan Africa.pdf Freedom in Sub-Saharan Africa 2009, Freedom House, 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  58. ^in Sub Saharan Africa.pdf Freedom of Association Under Threat: The New Authoritarians' Offensive Against Civil Society, Freedom House, 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  59. ^"Freedom at your Fingertips: Freedom House Releases iPhone App". Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  60. ^Guy Dinmore (March 31, 2006). "Bush enters debate on freedom in Iran". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2006.(subscription required)
  61. ^Ron Paul. "U.S. Hypocrisy in Ukraine". Archived from the original on December 12, 2012.
  62. ^ abcChomsky and Herman: Manufacturing Consent, Vintage 1994, p. 28
  63. ^ abUN: NGO Committee hears arguments for, against Freedom House
  64. ^Morello, Carol (August 11, 2020). "U.S. democracy and human rights leaders sanctioned by China vow not to be cowed into silence". Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  65. ^ abFreedom Is Downgraded From 'Bad'
  66. ^Treisman, Daniel (2011). The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev. Free Press. pp. 341–52. ISBN .
  67. ^Glorious Nation of Uzbekistan, By Tara McKelvey, New York Times Book Review, December 9, 2007. Book review of DIRTY DIPLOMACY: The Rough-and-Tumble Adventures of a Scotch-Drinking, Skirt-Chasing, Dictator-Busting and Thoroughly Unrepentant Ambassador Stuck on the Frontline of the War Against Terror, by Craig Murray.
  68. ^Jennifer Windsor (December 23, 2007). "Freedom House's Record". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  69. ^ abVeenendaal, Wouter P. (January 2, 2015). "Democracy in microstates: why smallness does not produce a democratic political system". Democratization. 22 (1): 92–112. doi:10.1080/13510347.2013.820710. ISSN 1351-0347. S2CID 145489442.
  70. ^Freedom House Turns Partisan, The Heritage Foundation
  71. ^Land of the 86 Percent Free, National Review
  72. ^What Is Illiberalism? Answering Joshua Muravchik, National Review
  73. ^John Fonte, Mike Gonzalez, Freedom House Turns Partisan, National Review. 15/02/2021
  74. ^Gastil, R. D. (1990). "The Comparative Survey of Freedom: Experiences and Suggestions". Studies in Comparative International Development. 25 (1): 25–50. doi:10.1007/BF02716904. S2CID 144099626.
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  76. ^Bollen, K.A., "Political Rights and Political Liberties in Nations: An Evaluation of Human Rights Measures, 1950 to 1984", Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 4 (November 1986), pp. 567–91. Also in: Jabine, T.B. and Pierre Claude, R. (Eds.), Human Rights and Statistics, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992, pp. 188–215, ISBN 0-8122-3108-2.
  77. ^Bollen, Kenneth A. and Paxton, Pamela, "Subjective Measures of Liberal Democracy", Comparative Political Studies, vol. 33, no. 1 (February 2000), pp.58–86
  78. ^Mainwaring, S.; Brinks, D.; Pérez-Liñán, A. B. (2001). "Classifying Political Regimes in Latin". Studies in Comparative International Development. 36 (1): 37–65. doi:10.1007/BF02687584. S2CID 155047996.
  79. ^Przeworski, Adam (2003). "Freedom to choose and democracy". Economics and Philosophy. 19 (2): 265–79. CiteSeerX doi:10.1017/S0266267103001159. S2CID 38812895.
  80. ^Steiner, N. D. (2016). Comparing Freedom House democracy scores to alternative indices and testing for political bias: Are US allies rated as more democratic by Freedom House?. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 18(4), 329-349.
  81. ^Bush, Sarah Sunn (2017). "The Politics of Rating Freedom: Ideological Affinity, Private Authority, and the Freedom in the World Ratings". Perspectives on Politics. 15 (3): 711–731. doi:10.1017/S1537592717000925. S2CID 109927267.

External links[edit]

Charters of Freedom - Wikipedia audio article


Novel by Daniel Suarez

Freedom™, the sequel to Daemon, is the second of a two-part novel, by the author Daniel Suarez, about a distributed, persistent computer application, known as The Daemon, that begins to change the real world after the original programmer's death.


The sequel picks up shortly after the end of Daemon. Sobol's distributed AI has already infiltrated the computer systems of numerous companies and governments. Many companies have surrendered, either out of fear of annihilation or because they have been converted to the fairer and more efficient system using a kind of government by algorithm. While the Daemon is a technological creation, much of the work is carried out by human beings, compelled by the Daemon to change the world, according to the vision of Matthew Sobol.

Connected by the "Darknet", the human followers, using Sobol's game engine (for his award-winning game "The Gate") as a base, have created their own ranking system and economy. Online identities mimic an MMORPG, with operatives doing tasks to gain levels and gaining access to new technologies and help from the Daemon in an effort to advance their communities. Numerous towns have slowly joined the Daemon's network as a means to improve their own situations and their society as a whole.

The rest of the world believes the Daemon is still a hoax, due to the efforts of the US government (and its allies) to appear to the general public that they are still in charge. In truth, the American political and economic system is collapsing, with the price of fuel and the unemployment rates both skyrocketing.

As with the first book, the interweaving stories follows specific characters:

Detective Sebeck, now acting as an unwilling Daemon operative, has been sent on a "quest" by the avatar of the late Matthew Sobol, one in which will to determine the role of freedom to the human race. Using special glasses to see online Darknet items and threads, Sebeck is joined by a Daemon operative, Laney Price, and he soon learns that his quest is being monitored by the entire Darknet community.

Sebeck begins his quest meeting another operative named Riley, who introduces him to the newly growing Daemon communities, dubbed Holons, which are based on being self-sufficient, using natural energy sources and technologies, and avoiding the military-industrial complex opposed to the type of freedom that the Daemon communities want. Riley teaches Sebeck how to navigate the Darknet and to use it to his advantage. With Laney in tow, Sebeck journeys around the country, always witnessing important events in the history of the Daemon. Sebeck reunites with Jon in a town called Greely, Iowa.

It is one of several Midwestern towns chosen by the elite powers for invasion and destruction. Sebeck's Darknet quest thread returns, and he and Laney follow it through enemy lines, only to discover that it is a trap laid by the Major, who has developed a means of infiltrating the Daemon mainframe and make slight alterations. After being bound and interrogated by the Major, who offers to give him his former life back as a detective, husband, and father in return for his cooperation and information, Sebeck refuses. As he and Laney are taken to be executed via a wood chipper, Loki arrives with a pack of Razorbacks, killing their captors, and Moseley arrives to rescue him and Price. Reuniting with other Darknet faction members, Sebeck participates in the attack on the Sky Ranch that results in the destruction of the corporate monopoly and the Daemon research team.

After the fighting, Sebeck resumes his quest and travels with Laney, Jon Ross, and Natalie Phillips to Morgan's Point Cemetery in Texas. The 3D avatar of Mathew Sobol reveals his intentions and desires for a world in which all are equal. Having seen both sides and the war that followed Sebeck makes the choice that the Daemon is not a threat and allows the world now forming to exist. Then, Sebeck is rewarded with an online message from his son Chris, who forgives him for all that has happened, and Sebeck happily heads home to be reunited with his family.

Jon Ross, fearing both the established authority and the actions of people like Loki, has joined the Daemon community to help shape it into a thing for good. He travels to China to recruit an old friend (and former spy) Shen Liang, but Liang refuses to believe that the Daemon network is real. Using Daemon technology that cloaks his image on CCTV cameras, Ross escapes before he can be taken into custody. Ross attempts to convince Natalie Phillips to join the Daemon community, but she rebuffs him. Ross then heads to Greely, meeting Hank Fossen, awaiting Sebeck's approach. The reunion is short-lived when they learn that Greely is surrounded by private security forces.

Ross joins several other townsfolk to defend Greely, but they are outnumbered and outmatched by the heavy weapons and armored fighting vehicles of the private security forces. They are almost killed, but the virtual Darknet avatar of Roy Merritt, a Level 200 champion, rescues them and defeats the private security forces with airborne laser drones after they refuse to surrender. Worried that Natalie will be in danger from Loki's machines during his impending attack on Sky Ranch, he travels there to give her a Darknet Amulet of Protection. After the battle is won, he and Natalie join Sebeck in the last leg of his quest, preparing for a life together.

At the funeral for Roy Merritt, NSA Agent Natalie Philips is approached by Loki who informs her that the Daemon operatives attending are there to honor his memory. Merritt has become a folk hero of the Darknet, known as "The Burning Man" by the Darknet users, who respect him for his tenacity. Loki tries to show her that she is working for the wrong side, but instead, she attempts to warn the authorities. Loki, in response, attacks a number of funeral attendants but only members of the private military contractor employed by the Major, Korr Security International.

Following the funeral, Phillips is made a scapegoat and relieved of her duties at the NSA. Ross attempts to convince her to join the Daemon community, but she refuses. Phillips has a plan to stop the government from taking control of the Daemon by destroying it. To that effect, Phillips allows herself to be recruited by the Major and a man named General Johnston. Flown to the Sky Ranch, the remaining base of operations for the ani-Daemon forces, Phillips is informed of their plan to seize control of the Daemon in a worldwide operation code, named Exorcist. After reading over a detailed report of Operation Exorcist, Phillips is highly suspicious of the relatively simple exploit in the Daemon's code that is described.

With the defeat of the General's offensive against the Daemon communities, Phillips is reunited with Ross, and together, they realize that Johnston's true plan is to allow most of the world's corporations to be destroyed by the Daemon (while protecting their own assets) and using the inevitable chaos to seize control of key facilities around the globe and declare a new world order with them in control. The General has no real use for Phillips other than to testify to the world the orthodox details of how the Daemon was supposedly defeated from the bogus report that she was given after the operation itself was over. However, they soon learn that Sobol had intentionally left fake errors in the Daemon's code and that the Daemon was many steps ahead of the private corporations, broadcasting their attempt to take over the world to the public and eliminating the personal wealth of everyone in charge. Declaring her love for Ross, together, they head off with Sebeck to witness him finish his quest and prepare for their future together.

Brian Gragg ("Loki Stormbringer") is the most powerful known human Daemon operative in existence, a Level 56 Sorcerer. Working with only his personal contingent of Razorbacks along with advanced weapons and armor, he scours America looking for the Major. Though he is well known, his rankings is low for his antisocial behavior and his rude, spiteful disposition. Heinrich Boerner, the 3D avatar of the Nazi soldier Gragg defeated to gain the attention of the Daemon in the first place, offers to become his ally because of Loki's extremely high power level, offering to commit any act or execute any order upon the conditions of the said order being met, including taking revenge for Loki if he were to be killed. Loki quickly accepts this offer.

Loki's first attempt to kill the Major fails when the Major escapes across water, where he is safe from Loki's machines, but eventually, Loki gains a lead that allows him to track the Major to a roadside motel. After using his Razorbacks, AutoM8s, and 'Angel Teeth' (guided spikes dropped from above) to kill the private security team guarding the Motel, he enters to find not the Major but an attractive girl, being held hostage. She claims that she is a low-level Daemon operative captured on a mission to deliver a valuable Darknet power ring. When Loki puts the ring on in an attempt to steal it, the ring injects Loki with a paralytic serum; he kills the girl with a blast of lightning before falling to the ground. Before falling unconscious, he sees several more men enter the room and destroy his Razorbacks, which he is unable to control, and he is finally captured by the Major.

Brought to a stable, Loki is stripped nude and tortured by the Major and removed from the Daemon's network. All biometric markers are cut off including his tongue, eyes and finger tips. However, it is later revealed that he was eventually rescued by the avatar of Boerner and implanted with cybernetic eyes, fingers, and a hypersonic speech module. He rescues Sebeck from being killed and then uses his Darknet power to dispatch an enormous army AutoM8's and Razorbacks to level Sky Ranch, hellbent on killing the Major.

After defeating the perimeter guard, his brutal assault on everyone at the Sky Ranch (including civilians) incurs the ire of the entire Daemon community. After being a large amount of negative ratings, the avatar of Roy Merritt arrives and attempts to reason with him to stop the killing, but when he refuses, Merritt uses his power to demote Loki to just level 10. Emotionally ruined and with all of his power taken away, Loki collapses, but his fellow Daemon members reach out to help him.

Hank Fossen is a third-generation farmer from Greely, who is recruited into the Daemon network by his daughter Jenna. Fighting a nuisance lawsuit against a company Halperin Organix, which has been illegally planting seeds on his property to create patent violations, Hank learns of Jenna's participation with a suspicious group in town. Jenna reveals the concept of the Daemon to Hank and promises that Halperin Organix's lawsuit will be dismissed now that they have gained "level 4 legal protection."

An assault on their farm, by hired mercenaries, is thwarted by Ross and other Daemon operatives, but upon learning about the impending assault on Greely, Hank sends Jenna and his wife to a predetermined shelter and then tries to help make a stand with Ross and the local Sheriff. Hank is shot and killed in the assault, but his sacrifice is not in vain. Using a community-created 3D avatar of Roy Merritt to coordinate a counterattack, the holon of Greely is able to defeat the assault force.

The Major is now the most wanted man in the Daemon community for his numerous crimes including the murder of Roy Merritt. An old hand at suppressing third worlds, the Major continues to make plans against the Daemon. He ruminates about his past as a heavy for the big corporations, killing people who have threatened their exploitation of foreign countries. He escapes an attempt on his life by Loki, but the experience makes the Major realize that he may not win this war.

In battling the Daemon, the government has been forced into a difficult alliance with private corporations employing the Major, giving rise to private armies who use the cover of night and corporate propaganda to create a state of fear. Intensifying his efforts the Major has dispatched foreign bought mercenaries and uses the corporate media to lie to the general public.

Developing a way to penetrate the Darknet by recruiting homeless teenagers, he eventually ambushes Loki taking him prisoner. He tortures Loki both for revenge and so that the Major can steal his identity within the Darknet. He later heads the Midwestern offensive from the Sky Ranch while simultaneously capturing Sebeck. After a speech in which he notes that the general population needs to be controlled by a ruling class, he orders Sebeck to be killed to keep the cover story of his past "execution".

After his plans collapse, the Major hides in a secret bomb shelter at Sky Ranch and awaits a chance to escape. Ten days after the defeat of his forces, the Major heads above ground now using Loki's stolen identity, only to discover that he is surrounded by both Razorbacks and the 3D avatar of Boerner.

The book ends with his inevitable death and the start of a new world.



External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Freedom™

Wikipedia freedom


Ability of individuals to have agency

For other uses, see Liberty (disambiguation).

Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). [1] It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is the state of being free within society from control or oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behaviour, or political views.[2][3][4] In philosophy, liberty involves free will as contrasted with determinism.[5] In theology, liberty is freedom from the effects of "sin, spiritual servitude, [or] worldly ties".[6] Sometimes liberty is differentiated from freedom by using the word "freedom" primarily, if not exclusively, to mean the ability to do as one wills and what one has the power to do; and using the word "liberty" to mean the absence of arbitrary restraints, taking into account the rights of all involved. In this sense, the exercise of liberty is subject to capability and limited by the rights of others.[7] Thus liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom. Freedom is more broad in that it represents a total lack of restraint or the unrestrained ability to fulfill one's desires. For example, a person can have the freedom to murder, but not have the liberty to murder, as the latter example deprives others of their right not to be harmed. Liberty can be taken away as a form of punishment. In many countries, people can be deprived of their liberty if they are convicted of criminal acts.

The word "liberty" is often used in slogans, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"[8] or "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".[9]

Liberty originates from the Latin word libertas, derived from the name of the goddess Libertas, who, along with the Goddess of Liberty, usually portrays the concept, and the archaic Roman god Liber.


Main article: Free will

Philosophers from earliest times have considered the question of liberty. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD) wrote:

a polity in which there is the same law for all, a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the freedom of the governed.[10]

According to Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679):

a free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do.

— Leviathan, Part 2, Ch. XXI.

John Locke (1632–1704) rejected that definition of liberty. While not specifically mentioning Hobbes, he attacks Sir Robert Filmer who had the same definition. According to Locke:

In the state of nature, liberty consists of being free from any superior power on Earth. People are not under the will or lawmaking authority of others but have only the law of nature for their rule. In political society, liberty consists of being under no other lawmaking power except that established by consent in the commonwealth. People are free from the dominion of any will or legal restraint apart from that enacted by their own constituted lawmaking power according to the trust put in it. Thus, freedom is not as Sir Robert Filmer defines it: 'A liberty for everyone to do what he likes, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any laws.' Freedom is constrained by laws in both the state of nature and political society. Freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of nature. Freedom of people under government is to be under no restraint apart from standing rules to live by that are common to everyone in the society and made by the lawmaking power established in it. Persons have a right or liberty to (1) follow their own will in all things that the law has not prohibited and (2) not be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, and arbitrary wills of others.[11]

John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), in his work, On Liberty, was the first to recognize the difference between liberty as the freedom to act and liberty as the absence of coercion.[12]

In his book Two Concepts of Liberty, Isaiah Berlin formally framed the differences between two perspectives as the distinction between two opposite concepts of liberty: positive liberty and negative liberty. The latter designates a negative condition in which an individual is protected from tyranny and the arbitrary exercise of authority, while the former refers to the liberty that comes from self-mastery, the freedom from inner compulsions such as weakness and fear.[13]


Main article: Political freedom


The modern concept of political liberty has its origins in the Greek concepts of freedom and slavery.[14] To be free, to the Greeks, was not to have a master, to be independent from a master (to live as one likes).[15][16] That was the original Greek concept of freedom. It is closely linked with the concept of democracy, as Aristotle put it:

"This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality."[17]

This applied only to free men. In Athens, for instance, women could not vote or hold office and were legally and socially dependent on a male relative.[18]

The populations of the Persian Empire enjoyed some degree of freedom. Citizens of all religions and ethnic groups were given the same rights and had the same freedom of religion, women had the same rights as men, and slavery was abolished (550 BC). All the palaces of the kings of Persia were built by paid workers in an era when slaves typically did such work.[19]

In the Maurya Empire of ancient India, citizens of all religions and ethnic groups had some rights to freedom, tolerance, and equality. The need for tolerance on an egalitarian basis can be found in the Edicts of Ashoka the Great, which emphasize the importance of tolerance in public policy by the government. The slaughter or capture of prisoners of war also appears to have been condemned by Ashoka.[20] Slavery also appears to have been non-existent in the Maurya Empire.[21] However, according to Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, "Ashoka's orders seem to have been resisted right from the beginning."[22]

Roman law also embraced certain limited forms of liberty, even under the rule of the Roman Emperors. However, these liberties were accorded only to Roman citizens. Many of the liberties enjoyed under Roman law endured through the Middle Ages, but were enjoyed solely by the nobility, rarely by the common man.[citation needed] The idea of inalienable and universal liberties had to wait until the Age of Enlightenment.

Social contract[edit]

In French Liberty. British Slavery(1792), James Gillraycaricatured French "liberty" as the opportunity to starve and British "slavery" as bloated complaints about taxation.

The social contract theory, most influentially formulated by Hobbes, John Locke and Rousseau (though first suggested by Plato in The Republic), was among the first to provide a political classification of rights, in particular through the notion of sovereignty and of natural rights. The thinkers of the Enlightenmentreasoned that law governed both heavenly and human affairs, and that law gave the king his power, rather than the king's power giving force to law. This conception of law would find its culmination in the ideas of Montesquieu. The conception of law as a relationship between individuals, rather than families, came to the fore, and with it the increasing focus on individual liberty as a fundamental reality, given by "Nature and Nature's God," which, in the ideal state, would be as universal as possible.

In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill sought to define the "...nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual," and as such, he describes an inherent and continuous antagonism between liberty and authority and thus, the prevailing question becomes "how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control".[7]

Origins of political freedom[edit]

England and Great Britain[edit]

The Magna Carta(originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215, written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period. This document is held at the British Libraryand is identified as "British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106".

England (and, following the Act of Union 1707, Great Britain), laid down the cornerstones of the concept of individual liberty.

In 1066 as a condition of his coronation William the Conqueror assented to the London Charter of Liberties which guaranteed the "Saxon" liberties of the City of London.

In 1100 the Charter of Liberties is passed which sets out certain liberties of nobles, church officials and individuals.

In 1166 Henry II of England transformed English law by passing the Assize of Clarendon. The act, a forerunner to trial by jury, started the abolition of trial by combat and trial by ordeal.[23]

1187-1189 sees the publication of Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Anglie which contains authoritative definitions of freedom and servitude:

Freedom is the natural faculty of doing what each person pleases to do according to his will, except what is prohibited to him of right or by force. Servitude on the other hand may be said to be the contrary, as if any person contrary to freedom should be bound upon a covenant to do something, or not to do it.[24]

In 1215 Magna Carta was enacted, arguably becoming the cornerstone of liberty in first England, then Great Britain, and later the world.

In 1628 the English Parliament passed the Petition of Right which set out specific liberties of English subjects.

In 1679 the English Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act which outlawed unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment.

In 1689 the Bill of Rights granted "freedom of speech in Parliament", and reinforced many existing civil rights in England. The Scots law equivalent the Claim of Right is also passed.[27]

In 1772 the Somerset v Stewart judgement found that slavery was unsupported by common law in England and Wales.

In 1859 an essay by the philosopher John Stuart Mill, entitled On Liberty, argued for toleration and individuality. "If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility."[28][29]

In 1958 Two Concepts of Liberty, by Isaiah Berlin, identified "negative liberty" as an obstacle, as distinct from "positive liberty" which promotes self-mastery and the concepts of freedom.[30]

In 1948 British representatives attempted to but were prevented from adding a legal framework to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (It was not until 1976 that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights came into force, giving a legal status to most of the Declaration.)[31]

United States[edit]

According to the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, all men have a natural right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". But this declaration of liberty was troubled from the outset by the institutionalization of legalized Black slavery. Slave owners argued that their liberty was paramount since it involved property, their slaves, and that Blacks had no rights that any White man was obliged to recognize. The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott decision, upheld this principle. It was not until 1866, following the Civil War, that the US Constitution was amended to extend these rights to persons of color, and not until 1920 that these rights were extended to women.[32]

By the later half of the 20th century, liberty was expanded further to prohibit government interference with personal choices. In the United States Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice William O. Douglas argued that liberties relating to personal relationships, such as marriage, have a unique primacy of place in the hierarchy of freedoms.[33] Jacob M. Appel has summarized this principle:

I am grateful that I have rights in the proverbial public square – but, as a practical matter, my most cherished rights are those that I possess in my bedroom and hospital room and death chamber. Most people are far more concerned that they can control their own bodies than they are about petitioning Congress.[34]

In modern America, various competing ideologies have divergent views about how best to promote liberty. Liberals in the original sense of the word see equality as a necessary component of freedom. Progressives stress freedom from business monopoly as essential. Libertarians disagree, and see economic freedom as best. The Tea Party movement sees the undefined "big government" as the enemy of freedom.[35][36]


France supported the Americans in their revolt against English rule and, in 1789, overthrew their own monarchy, with the cry of "Liberté, égalité, fraternité". The bloodbath that followed, known as the reign of terror, soured many people on the idea of liberty. Edmund Burke, considered one of the fathers of conservatism, wrote "The French had shewn themselves the ablest architects of ruin that had hitherto existed in the world."[37]



Main article: Liberalism

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, liberalism is "the belief that it is the aim of politics to preserve individual rights and to maximize freedom of choice". But they point out that there is considerable discussion about how to achieve those goals. Every discussion of freedom depends on three key components: who is free, what they are free to do, and what forces restrict their freedom.[38] John Gray argues that the core belief of liberalism is toleration. Liberals allow others freedom to do what they want, in exchange for having the same freedom in return. This idea of freedom is personal rather than political.[39] William Safire points out that liberalism is attacked by both the Right and the Left: by the Right for defending such practices as abortion, homosexuality, and atheism, and by the Left for defending free enterprise and the rights of the individual over the collective.[40]


Main articles: Libertarianism, Minarchism, and Anarcho-capitalism

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, libertarians hold liberty as their primary political value.[41] Their approach to implementing liberty involves opposing any governmental coercion, aside from that which is necessary to prevent individuals from coercing each other.[42]

Republican liberty[edit]

According to republican theorists of freedom, like the historian Quentin Skinner[43][44] or the philosopher Philip Pettit,[45] one's liberty should not be viewed as the absence of interference in one's actions, but as non-domination. According to this view, which originates in the Roman Digest, to be a liber homo, a free man, means not being subject to another's arbitrary will, that is to say, dominated by another. They also cite Machiavelli who asserted that you must be a member of a free self-governing civil association, a republic, if you are to enjoy individual liberty.[46]

The predominance of this view of liberty among parliamentarians during the English Civil War resulted in the creation of the liberal concept of freedom as non-interference in Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan.[citation needed]


Main article: Socialism

Socialists view freedom as a concrete situation as opposed to a purely abstract ideal. Freedom is a state of being where individuals have agency to pursue their creative interests unhindered by coercive social relationships, specifically those they are forced to engage in as a requisite for survival under a given social system. Freedom thus requires both the material economic conditions that make freedom possible alongside social relationships and institutions conducive to freedom.[47]

The socialist conception of freedom is closely related to the socialist view of creativity and individuality. Influenced by Karl Marx's concept of alienated labor, socialists understand freedom to be the ability for an individual to engage in creative work in the absence of alienation, where "alienated labor" refers to work people are forced to perform and un-alienated work refers to individuals pursuing their own creative interests.[48]


Main article: Marxism

For Karl Marx, meaningful freedom is only attainable in a communist society characterized by superabundance and free access. Such a social arrangement would eliminate the need for alienated labor and enable individuals to pursue their own creative interests, leaving them to develop and maximize their full potentialities. This goes alongside Marx's emphasis on the ability of socialism and communism progressively reducing the average length of the workday to expand the "realm of freedom", or discretionary free time, for each person.[49][50] Marx's notion of communist society and human freedom is thus radically individualistic.[51]


Main article: Anarchism

While many anarchists see freedom slightly differently, all oppose authority, including the authority of the state, of capitalism, and of nationalism.[52] For the Russian revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, liberty did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a positive sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."[53]

Cultural prerequisites[edit]

Some authors have suggested that a virtuous culture must exist as a prerequisite for liberty. Benjamin Franklin stated that "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."[54] Madison likewise declared: "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea."[55] John Adams acknowledged: "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."[56]

Historical writings on liberty[edit]

  • John Locke (1689). Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, the False Principles, and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, Are Detected and Overthrown. the Latter Is an Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government. London: Awnsham Churchill.
  • Frédéric Bastiat (1850). The Law. Paris: Guillaumin & Co.
  • John Stuart Mill (1859). On Liberty. London: John W Parker and Son.
  • James Fitzjames Stephen (1874). Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. London: Smith, Elder, & Co.

See also[edit]


  1. ^The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2005, Merriam-Webster, Inc., ISBN 978-0-87779-636-7.
  2. ^"liberty | Definition of liberty in English by Lexico Dictionaries". Lexico Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  3. ^"liberty". Oxford English Dictionary.
  4. ^Oxford English Dictionary, liberty: "Chiefly in plural. Each of those social and political freedoms which are considered to be the entitlement of all members of a community; a civil liberty."
  5. ^Oxford English Dictionary, liberty: "The fact of not being controlled by or subject to fate; freedom of will."
  6. ^Oxford English Dictionary, liberty: "Freedom from the bondage or dominating influence of sin, spiritual servitude, worldly ties."
  7. ^ abMill, J. S. (1869), "Chapter I: Introductory", On Liberty.
  8. ^The Declaration of Independence, The World Almanac, 2016, ISBN 978-1-60057-201-2.
  9. ^"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – France in the United States / Embassy of France in Washington, DC".
  10. ^Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations", Book I, Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, ISBN 1-85326-486-5
  11. ^Two Treatises on Government: A Translation into Modern English, ISR, 2009, p. 76
  12. ^Westbrooks, Logan Hart (2008) "Personal Freedom" p. 134In Owens, William (compiler) (2008) Freedom: Keys to Freedom from Twenty-one National Leaders Main Street Publications, Memphis, Tennessee, pp. 3–38, ISBN 978-0-9801152-0-8
  13. ^Metaphilosoph: Motives for Philosophizing Debunking and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Kelly Dean Jolley. pp. 262–70
  14. ^Rodriguez, Junius P. (2007) The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery: A–K; Vol. II, L–Z,
  15. ^Mogens Herman Hansen, 2010, Democratic Freedom and the Concept of Freedom in Plato and Aristotle
  16. ^Baldissone, Riccardo (2018). Farewell to Freedom: A Western Genealogy of Liberty. doi:10.16997/book15. ISBN .
  17. ^Aristotle, Politics 6.2
  18. ^Mikalson, Jon (2009). Ancient Greek Religion (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. p. 129. ISBN .
  19. ^Arthur Henry Robertson, John Graham Merrills (1996). Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International Protection of Human Rights. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-4923-7.
  20. ^Amartya Sen (1997). Human Rights and Asian Values. ISBN 0-87641-151-0.
  21. ^Arrian, Indica:

    "This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave."

  22. ^Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund (2004). A history of India. Routledge. p. 66. ISBN 0-415-32920-5
  23. ^"The History of Human Rights". Liberty. 2010-07-20. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  24. ^Bracton, Henry de (1878). "De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  25. ^"Bill of Rights". British Library. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  26. ^Mill, John Stuart (1859). On Liberty (2nd ed.). London: John W.Parker & Son. p. 1.
  27. ^Mill, John Stuart (1864). On Liberty (3rd ed.). London: Longman, Green, Longman Roberts & Green.
  28. ^Carter, Ian (5 March 2012). "Positive and Negative Liberty". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  29. ^Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Final authorized text ed.). The British Library. 1952. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  30. ^The Constitution of the United States of America, The World Almanac and book of facts (2012), pp. 485–86, Amendment XIV "Citizenship Rights not to be abridged.", Amendment XV "Race no bar to voting rights.", Amendment XIX, "Giving nationwide suffrage to women.". World Almanac Books, ISBN 978-1-60057-147-3.
  31. ^Griswold v. Connecticut. 381 U.S. 479 (1965) Decided June 7, 1965
  32. ^"A Culture of Liberty". The Huffington Post. 21 July 2009.
  33. ^Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-920516-5.
  34. ^Capitol Reader (21 June 2013). Summary of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto – Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe. Primento. pp. 9–10. ISBN .
    Haidt, Jonathan (16 October 2010). "What the Tea Partiers Really Want". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
    Ronald P. Formisano (2012). The Tea Party: A Brief History. JHU Press. p. 72. ISBN .
  35. ^Clark, J.C.D., Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France: a Critical Edition, 2001, Stanford. pp. 66–67, ISBN 0-8047-3923-4.
  36. ^Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-920516-5.
  37. ^John Gray, Two Faces of Liberalism, The New Press, 1990, ISBN 1-56584-589-7.
  38. ^William Safire, Safire's Political Dictionary, "Liberalism takes criticism from both the right and the left,...", p. 388, Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-534334-2.
  39. ^"Libertarianism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  40. ^David Kelley, "Life, liberty, and property." Social Philosophy and Policy (1984) 1#2 pp. 108–18.
  41. ^Quentin Skinner, contributor and co-editor, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Volume I: Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-521-67235-1
  42. ^Quentil Skinner, contributor and co-editor, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Volume II: The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-521-67234-4
  43. ^Philip Pettit, Republicanism: a theory of freedom and government, 1997
  44. ^The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume 1, The Renaissance, By Quentin Skinner
  45. ^Bhargava, Rajeev (2008). Political Theory: An Introduction. Pearson Education India. p. 255.
  46. ^Goodwin, Barbara (2007). Using Political Ideas. Wiley. pp. 107–09. ISBN .
  47. ^Wood, John Cunningham (1996). Karl Marx's Economics: Critical Assessments I. Routledge. pp. 248–49. ISBN .
  48. ^Peffer, Rodney G. (2014). Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice. Princeton University Press. p. 73. ISBN .
  49. ^Karl Marx on Equality, by Woods, Allen. "A society that has transcended class antagonisms, therefore, would not be one in which some truly universal interest at last reigns, to which individual interests must be sacrificed. It would instead be a society in which individuals freely act as the truly human individuals they are. Marx's radical communism was, in this way, also radically individualistic."
  50. ^The Routledge companion to social and political philosophy. Gaus, Gerald F., D'Agostino, Fred. New York: Routledge. 2013. ISBN . OCLC 707965867.CS1 maint: others (link)
  51. ^"Works of Mikhail Bakunin 1871". Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  52. ^The Writings of Benjamin Franklin 569 (Albert H. Smyth ed., 1970).
  53. ^The Writings of James Madison 223 (Gaillard Hunt ed., 1904).
  54. ^John R. Howe, Jr., The Changing Political Thought of John Adams 165 (1966) (quoting from John Adams' "Reply to the Massachusetts Militia," Oct. 11, 1789).


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Liberty at Wikimedia Commons
  • Quotations related to Liberty at Wikiquote
Getting The Keys To Our Own Freedom City Called Freedomistan

Freedom of speech

"Free speech" and "Freedom of expression" redirect here. For free speech restrictions on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Free speech. For the Eddie Harris album, see Free Speech (album). For other uses, see Freedom of expression (disambiguation) and Freedom of speech (disambiguation).

Right to communicate one's opinions and ideas

Eleanor Rooseveltand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."[1]

Freedom of speech[2] is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The right to freedom of expression has been recognized as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law by the United Nations. A lot of countries have constitutional law that protects free speech. Terms like free speech, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are used interchangeably in political discourse. However, in legal sense, the freedom of expression includes any activity of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals."[3]

Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, dignity, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury. Justifications for such include the harm principle, proposed by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, which suggests that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."[4]

The idea of the "offense principle" is also used in the justification of speech limitations, describing the restriction on forms of expression deemed offensive to society, considering factors such as extent, duration, motives of the speaker, and ease with which it could be avoided.[4] With the evolution of the digital age, application of freedom of speech becomes more controversial as new means of communication and restrictions arise, for example the Golden Shield Project, an initiative by Chinese government's Ministry of Public Security that filters potentially unfavourable data from foreign countries.


Freedom of speech and expression has a long history that predates modern international human rights instruments.[5] It is thought that the ancient Athenian democratic principle of free speech may have emerged in the late 6th or early 5th century BC.[6] The values of the Roman Republic included freedom of speech and freedom of religion.[7]

Freedom of speech was vindicated by Erasmus and Milton.[5]Edward Coke claimed freedom of speech as "an ancient custom of Parliament" in the 1590s, and it was affirmed in the Protestation of 1621.[8] England's Bill of Rights 1689 legally established the constitutional right of freedom of speech in Parliament which is still in effect.[9][10]

One of the world's first freedom of the press acts was introduced in Sweden in 1766, mainly due to the classical liberal member of parliament and Ostrobothnian priest Anders Chydenius.[11][12][13][14] Excepted and liable to prosecution was only vocal opposition to the King and the Church of Sweden.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted during the French Revolution in 1789, specifically affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right.[5] Adopted in 1791, freedom of speech is a feature of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[15] The French Declaration provides for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that:

The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.[16]

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.[17]

Today, freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognised in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.[18] Based on John Milton's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects:

  1. the right to seek information and ideas;
  2. the right to receive information and ideas;
  3. the right to impart information and ideas

International, regional and national standards also recognise that freedom of speech, as the freedom of expression, includes any medium, whether it be orally, in written, in print, through the Internet or through art forms. This means that the protection of freedom of speech as a right includes not only the content, but also the means of expression.[18]

Relationship to other rights[edit]

The right to freedom of speech and expression is closely related to other rights, and may be limited when conflicting with other rights (see limitations on freedom of speech).[18] The right to freedom of expression is also related to the right to a fair trial and court proceeding which may limit access to the search for information, or determine the opportunity and means in which freedom of expression is manifested within court proceedings.[19] As a general principle freedom of expression may not limit the right to privacy, as well as the honor and reputation of others. However greater latitude is given when criticism of public figures is involved.[19]

The right to freedom of expression is particularly important for media, which plays a special role as the bearer of the general right to freedom of expression for all.[18] However, freedom of the press does not necessarily enable freedom of speech. Judith Lichtenberg has outlined conditions in which freedom of the press may constrain freedom of speech, for example, if all the people who control the various mediums of publication suppress information or stifle the diversity of voices inherent in freedom of speech. This limitation was famously summarized as "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one".[20] Lichtenberg argues that freedom of the press is simply a form of property right summed up by the principle "no money, no voice."[21]

As a negative right[edit]

Freedom of speech is usually seen as a negative right.[22] This means that the government is legally obliged to take no action against the speaker on the basis of the speaker's views, but that no one is obliged to help any speakers publish their views, and no one is required to listen to, agree with, or acknowledge the speaker or the speaker's views.

Democracy in relation to social interaction[edit]

Freedom of speech is understood to be fundamental in a democracy. The norms on limiting freedom of expression mean that public debate may not be completely suppressed even in times of emergency.[19] One of the most notable proponents of the link between freedom of speech and democracy is Alexander Meiklejohn. He has argued that the concept of democracy is that of self-government by the people. For such a system to work, an informed electorate is necessary. In order to be appropriately knowledgeable, there must be no constraints on the free flow of information and ideas. According to Meiklejohn, democracy will not be true to its essential ideal if those in power are able to manipulate the electorate by withholding information and stifling criticism. Meiklejohn acknowledges that the desire to manipulate opinion can stem from the motive of seeking to benefit society. However, he argues, choosing manipulation negates, in its means, the democratic ideal.[23]

Eric Barendt has called this defence of free speech on the grounds of democracy "probably the most attractive and certainly the most fashionable free speech theory in modern Western democracies.".[24]Thomas I. Emerson expanded on this defence when he argued that freedom of speech helps to provide a balance between stability and change. Freedom of speech acts as a "safety valve" to let off steam when people might otherwise be bent on revolution. He argues that "The principle of open discussion is a method of achieving a more adaptable and at the same time more stable community, of maintaining the precarious balance between healthy cleavage and necessary consensus." Emerson furthermore maintains that "Opposition serves a vital social function in offsetting or ameliorating (the) normal process of bureaucratic decay."[25]

Research undertaken by the Worldwide Governance Indicators project at the World Bank, indicates that freedom of speech, and the process of accountability that follows it, have a significant impact in the quality of governance of a country. "Voice and Accountability" within a country, defined as "the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free media" is one of the six dimensions of governance that the Worldwide Governance Indicators measure for more than 200 countries.[26] Against this backdrop it is important that development agencies create grounds for effective support for a free press in developing countries.[27]

Richard Moon has developed the argument that the value of freedom of speech and freedom of expression lies with social interactions. Moon writes that "by communicating an individual forms relationships and associations with others – family, friends, co-workers, church congregation, and countrymen. By entering into discussion with others an individual participates in the development of knowledge and in the direction of the community."[28]


For specific country examples, see Freedom of speech by country and criminal speech.

Freedom of speech is not regarded as absolute by some with most legal systems generally setting limits on the freedom of speech, particularly when freedom of speech conflicts with other rights and protections, such as in the cases of libel, slander, pornography, obscenity, fighting words, and intellectual property.

Some limitations to freedom of speech may occur through legal sanction, and others may occur through social disapprobation.[30]

Harmful and offensive content[edit]

Some views are illegal to express because it can cause harm to others. This category often includes speech that is both false and dangerous, such as falsely shouting "Fire!" in a theatre and causing a panic. Justifications for limitations to freedom of speech often reference the "harm principle" or the "offence principle."

In On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill argued that "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered."[30] Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment.[31][32][33][34]

In 1985, Joel Feinberg introduced what is known as the "offence principle". Feinberg wrote, "It is always a good reason in support of a proposed criminal prohibition that it would probably be an effective way of preventing serious offence (as opposed to injury or harm) to persons other than the actor, and that it is probably a necessary means to that end."[35] Hence Feinberg argues that the harm principle sets the bar too high and that some forms of expression can be legitimately prohibited by law because they are very offensive. But, as offending someone is less serious than harming someone, the penalties imposed should be higher for causing harm.[35] In contrast, Mill does not support legal penalties unless they are based on the harm principle.[30] Because the degree to which people may take offence varies, or may be the result of unjustified prejudice, Feinberg suggests that a number of factors need to be taken into account when applying the offence principle, including: the extent, duration and social value of the speech, the ease with which it can be avoided, the motives of the speaker, the number of people offended, the intensity of the offence, and the general interest of the community at large.[30]

Jasper Doomen argued that harm should be defined from the point of view of the individual citizen, not limiting harm to physical harm since nonphysical harm may also be involved; Feinberg's distinction between harm and offence is criticized as largely trivial.[36]

In 1999, Bernard Harcourt wrote of the collapse of the harm principle: "Today the debate is characterized by a cacophony of competing harm arguments without any way to resolve them. There is no longer an argument within the structure of the debate to resolve the competing claims of harm. The original harm principle was never equipped to determine the relative importance of harms."[37]

Interpretations of both the harm and offense limitations to freedom of speech are culturally and politically relative. For instance, in Russia, the harm and offense principles have been used to justify the Russian LGBT propaganda law restricting speech (and action) in relation to LGBT issues. A number of European countries that take pride in freedom of speech nevertheless outlaw speech that might be interpreted as Holocaust denial. These include Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Romania.[38]Armenian genocide denial is also illegal in some countries.

In some countries, blasphemy is a crime. For example, in Austria, defaming Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, is not protected as free speech.[39][40][41] In contrast, in France, blasphemy and disparagement of Muhammad are protected under free speech law.

Certain public institutions may also enact policies restricting the freedom of speech, for example speech codes at state-operated schools.

In the U.S., the standing landmark opinion on political speech is Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969),[42] expressly overruling Whitney v. California. In Brandenburg, the U.S. Supreme Court referred to the right even to speak openly of violent action and revolution in broad terms:

[Our] decisions have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not allow a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or cause such action.[44]

The opinion in Brandenburg discarded the previous test of "clear and present danger" and made the right to freedom of (political) speech protections in the United States almost absolute.[45] Hate speech is also protected by the First Amendment in the United States, as decided in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, (1992) in which the Supreme Court ruled that hate speech is permissible, except in the case of imminent violence.[47] See the First Amendment to the United States Constitution for more detailed information on this decision and its historical background.

Time, place, and manner[edit]

Main article: Time, place and manner

Limitations based on time, place, and manner apply to all speech, regardless of the view expressed.[48] They are generally restrictions that are intended to balance other rights or a legitimate government interest. For example, a time, place, and manner restriction might prohibit a noisy political demonstration at a politician's home during the middle of the night, as that impinges upon the rights of the politician's neighbors to quiet enjoyment of their own homes. An otherwise identical activity might be permitted if it happened at a different time (e.g., during the day), at a different place (e.g., at a government building or in another public forum), or in a different manner (e.g., a silent protest).

The Internet and information society[edit]

Jo Glanville, editor of the Index on Censorship, states that "the Internet has been a revolution for censorship as much as for free speech".[50] International, national and regional standards recognise that freedom of speech, as one form of freedom of expression, applies to any medium, including the Internet.[18] The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was the first major attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornographic material on the Internet. In 1997, in the landmark cyberlaw case of Reno v. ACLU, the US Supreme Court partially overturned the law.[51] Judge Stewart R. Dalzell, one of the three federal judges who in June 1996 declared parts of the CDA unconstitutional, in his opinion stated the following:[52]

The Internet is a far more speech-enhancing medium than print, the village green, or the mails. Because it would necessarily affect the Internet itself, the CDA would necessarily reduce the speech available for adults on the medium. This is a constitutionally intolerable result. Some of the dialogue on the Internet surely tests the limits of conventional discourse. Speech on the Internet can be unfiltered, unpolished, and unconventional, even emotionally charged, sexually explicit, and vulgar – in a word, "indecent" in many communities. But we should expect such speech to occur in a medium in which citizens from all walks of life have a voice. We should also protect the autonomy that such a medium confers to ordinary people as well as media magnates.[...] My analysis does not deprive the Government of all means of protecting children from the dangers of Internet communication. The Government can continue to protect children from pornography on the Internet through vigorous enforcement of existing laws criminalising obscenity and child pornography. [...] As we learned at the hearing, there is also a compelling need for public educations about the benefits and dangers of this new medium, and the Government can fill that role as well. In my view, our action today should only mean that Government's permissible supervision of Internet contents stops at the traditional line of unprotected speech. [...] The absence of governmental regulation of Internet content has unquestionably produced a kind of chaos, but as one of the plaintiff's experts put it with such resonance at the hearing: "What achieved success was the very chaos that the Internet is. The strength of the Internet is chaos." Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so that strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects.[52]

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003 makes specific reference to the importance of the right to freedom of expression for the "Information Society" in stating:

We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits of the Information Society offers.[53]

According to Bernt Hugenholtz and Lucie Guibault, the public domain is under pressure from the "commodification of information" as information with previously little or no economic value has acquired independent economic value in the information age. This includes factual data, personal data, genetic information and pure ideas. The commodification of information is taking place through intellectual property law, contract law, as well as broadcasting and telecommunications law.[54]

Freedom of information[edit]

Main article: Freedom of information

Freedom of information is an extension of freedom of speech where the medium of expression is the Internet. Freedom of information may also refer to the right to privacy in the context of the Internet and information technology. As with the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy is a recognised human right and freedom of information acts as an extension to this right.[55] Freedom of information may also concern censorship in an information technology context, i.e. the ability to access Web content, without censorship or restrictions.[56]

Freedom of information is also explicitly protected by acts such as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of Ontario, in Canada. The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and any person or corporation present in Canada a right to access records of government institutions that are subject to the Act. [57]

Internet censorship[edit]

Main articles: Internet censorship and Internet censorship by country

The concept of freedom of information has emerged in response to state sponsored censorship, monitoring and surveillance of the internet. Internet censorship includes the control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet.[58] The Global Internet Freedom Consortium claims to remove blocks to the "free flow of information" for what they term "closed societies."[59] According to the Reporters without Borders (RWB) "internet enemy list" the following states engage in pervasive internet censorship: China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.[60]

A widely publicized example of internet censorship is the "Great Firewall of China" (in reference both to its role as a network firewall and to the ancient Great Wall of China). The system blocks content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through and consists of standard firewall and proxy servers at the Internetgateways. The system also selectively engages in DNS poisoning when particular sites are requested. The government does not appear to be systematically examining Internet content, as this appears to be technically impractical.[61]Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations, including more than sixty regulations directed at the Internet. Censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, business companies, and organizations.[62][63]

Challenge of disinformation[edit]

Some legal scholars (such as Tim Wu of Columbia University) have argued that the traditional issues of free speech -- that "the main threat to free speech" is the censorship of "suppressive states," and that "ill-informed or malevolent speech" can and should be overcome by "more and better speech" rather than censorship -- assumes a scarcity of information. This scarcity prevailed during the 20th century, but with the arrival of the internet, information became plentiful, "but the attention of listeners" scarce. And in the words of Wu, this "cheap speech" made possible by the internet " ... may be used to attack, harass, and silence as much as it is used to illuminate or debate."[64][65]

In the 21st century, the danger is not "suppressive states" that target "speakers directly", but that

targets listeners or it undermines speakers indirectly. More precisely, emerging techniques of speech control depend on (1) a range of new punishments, like unleashing “troll armies” to abuse the press and other critics, and (2) “flooding” tactics (sometimes called “reverse censorship”) that distort or drown out disfavored speech through the creation and dissemination of fake news, the payment of fake commentators, and the deployment of propaganda robots.[66] As journalist Peter Pomerantsev writes, these techniques employ “information ... in weaponized terms, as a tool to confuse, blackmail, demoralize, subvert and paralyze.”[67][64]

History of dissent and truth[edit]

Further information: Dissent

Before the invention of the printing press, a written work, once created, could only be physically multiplied by highly laborious and error-prone manual copying. No elaborate system of censorship and control over scribes existed, who until the 14th century were restricted to religious institutions, and their works rarely caused wider controversy. In response to the printing press, and the theological heresies it allowed to spread, the Roman Catholic Church moved to impose censorship.[68] Printing allowed for multiple exact copies of a work, leading to a more rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information (see print culture).[69] The origins of copyright law in most European countries lie in efforts by the Roman Catholic Church and governments to regulate and control the output of printers.[69]

In 1501 Pope Alexander VI issued a Bill against the unlicensed printing of books. In 1559 Pope Paul IV promulgated the Index Expurgatorius, or List of Prohibited Books.[68] The Index Expurgatorius is the most famous and long lasting example of "bad books" catalogues issued by the Roman Catholic Church, which presumed to be in authority over private thoughts and opinions, and suppressed views that went against its doctrines. The Index Expurgatorius was administered by the Roman Inquisition, but enforced by local government authorities, and went through 300 editions. Amongst others, it banned or censored books written by René Descartes, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, David Hume, John Locke, Daniel Defoe, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire.[71] While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways because it allowed for the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could also circulate rapidly. As a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books.[69]

The notion that the expression of dissent or subversive views should be tolerated, not censured or punished by law, developed alongside the rise of printing and the press. Areopagitica, published in 1644, was John Milton's response to the Parliament of England's re-introduction of government licensing of printers, hence publishers.[72] Church authorities had previously ensured that Milton's essay on the right to divorce was refused a license for publication. In Areopagitica, published without a license,[73] Milton made an impassioned plea for freedom of expression and toleration of falsehood,[72] stating:

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.[72]

Milton's defense of freedom of expression was grounded in a Protestant worldview, and he thought that the English people had the mission to work out the truth of the Reformation, which would lead to the enlightenment of all people. But Milton also articulated the main strands of future discussions about freedom of expression. By defining the scope of freedom of expression and of "harmful" speech Milton argued against the principle of pre-censorship and in favor of tolerance for a wide range of views.[72] Freedom of the press ceased being regulated in England in 1695 when the Licensing Order of 1643 was allowed to expire after the introduction of the Bill of Rights 1689 shortly after the Glorious Revolution.[76][77] The emergence of publications like the Tatler (1709) and the Spectator (1711) are given credit for creating a 'bourgeois public sphere' in England that allowed for a free exchange of ideas and information.

As the "menace" of printing spread, more governments attempted to centralize control.[78] The French crown repressed printing and the printer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake in 1546. In 1557 the British Crown thought to stem the flow of seditious and heretical books by chartering the Stationers' Company. The right to print was limited to the members of that guild, and thirty years later the Star Chamber was chartered to curtail the "greate enormities and abuses" of "dyvers contentyous and disorderlye persons professinge the arte or mystere of pryntinge or selling of books." The right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had 53 printing presses. As the British crown took control of type founding in 1637 printers fled to the Netherlands. Confrontation with authority made printers radical and rebellious, with 800 authors, printers and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille in Paris before it was stormed in 1789.[78]

A succession of English thinkers was at the forefront of early discussion on a right to freedom of expression, among them John Milton (1608–74) and John Locke (1632–1704). Locke established the individual as the unit of value and the bearer of rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. However Locke's ideas evolved primarily around the concept of the right to seek salvation for one's soul, and was thus primarily concerned with theological matters. Locke neither supported a universal toleration of peoples nor freedom of speech; according to his ideas, some groups, such as atheists, should not be allowed.[79]

George Orwell statueat the headquarters of the BBC. A defence of free speech in an open society, the wall behind the statue is inscribed with the words "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”, words from George Orwell's proposed preface to Animal Farm(1945).[80]

By the second half of the 17th century philosophers on the European continent like Baruch Spinoza and Pierre Bayle developed ideas encompassing a more universal aspect freedom of speech and toleration than the early English philosophers.[79] By the 18th century the idea of freedom of speech was being discussed by thinkers all over the Western world, especially by French philosophes like Denis Diderot, Baron d'Holbach and Claude Adrien Helvétius.[81] The idea began to be incorporated in political theory both in theory as well as practice; the first state edict in history proclaiming complete freedom of speech was the one issued 4 December 1770 in Denmark-Norway during the regency of Johann Friedrich Struensee.[82] However Struensee himself imposed some minor limitations to this edict on 7 October 1771, and it was even further limited after the fall of Struensee with legislation introduced in 1773, although censorship was not reintroduced.[83]

John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) argued that without human freedom there can be no progress in science, law or politics, which according to Mill required free discussion of opinion. Mill's On Liberty, published in 1859 became a classic defence of the right to freedom of expression.[72] Mill argued that truth drives out falsity, therefore the free expression of ideas, true or false, should not be feared. Truth is not stable or fixed, but evolves with time. Mill argued that much of what we once considered true has turned out false. Therefore, views should not be prohibited for their apparent falsity. Mill also argued that free discussion is necessary to prevent the "deep slumber of a decided opinion". Discussion would drive the onwards march of truth and by considering false views the basis of true views could be re-affirmed.[84] Furthermore, Mill argued that an opinion only carries intrinsic value to the owner of that opinion, thus silencing the expression of that opinion is an injustice to a basic human right. For Mill, the only instance in which speech can be justifiably suppressed is in order to prevent harm from a clear and direct threat. Neither economic or moral implications, nor the speakers own well-being would justify suppression of speech.[85]

In her 1906 biography of Voltaire, Evelyn Beatrice Hall coined the following sentence to illustrate Voltaire's beliefs: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."[86] Hall's quote is frequently cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.[86]Noam Chomsky stated, "If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Dictators such as Stalin and Hitler, were in favor of freedom of speech for views they liked only. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise."[87]Lee Bollinger argues that "the free speech principle involves a special act of carving out one area of social interaction for extraordinary self-restraint, the purpose of which is to develop and demonstrate a social capacity to control feelings evoked by a host of social encounters." Bollinger argues that tolerance is a desirable value, if not essential. However, critics argue that society should be concerned by those who directly deny or advocate, for example, genocide (see limitations above).[88]

As chairman of the London-based PEN International, a club which defends freedom of expression and a free press, English author H. G. Wells met with Stalin in 1934 and was hopeful of reform in the Soviet Union. However during their meeting in Moscow Wells said, "the free expression of opinion—even of opposition opinion, I do not know if you are prepared yet for that much freedom here."[89]

The 1928 novel Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence was banned for obscenity in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was the subject of landmark court rulings which saw the ban for obscenity overturned. Dominic Sandbrook of The Telegraph in the UK wrote, "Now that public obscenity has become commonplace, it is hard to recapture the atmosphere of a society that saw fit to ban books such as Lady Chatterley's Lover because it was likely to 'deprave and corrupt' its readers."[90]Fred Kaplan of The New York Times stated the overturning of the obscenity laws "set off an explosion of free speech" in the U.S.[91] The 1960s also saw the Free Speech Movement, a massive long-lasting student protest on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley during the 1964–65 academic year.[92]

In 1964 comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested in the U.S. due to complaints again pertaining to his use of various obscenities. A three-judge panel presided over his widely publicized six-month trial in which he was found guilty of obscenity in November 1964. He was sentenced on 21 December 1964, to four months in a workhouse.[93] He was set free on bail during the appeals process and died before the appeal was decided. On 23 December 2003, thirty-seven years after Bruce's death, New York GovernorGeorge Pataki granted him a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction.[94]

In the United States, the right to freedom of expression has been interpreted to include the right to take and publish photographs of strangers in public areas without their permission or knowledge.[95][96] This is not the case worldwide.

Freedom of speech on college campuses[edit]

In July 2014, the University of Chicago released the "Chicago Statement," a free speech policy statement designed to combat censorship on campus. This statement was later adopted by a number of top-ranked universities including Princeton University, Washington University in St. Louis, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University.[97][98]

Commentators such as Vox's Zack Beauchamp and Chris Quintana, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, have disputed the assumption that college campuses are facing a "free-speech crisis."[99][100]

See also[edit]


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  40. ^Lucia I. Suarez Sang (26 October 2018). "Defaming Muhammad does not fall under purview of free speech, European court rules". Fox News. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  41. ^Bojan Pancevski (26 October 2018). "Europe Court Upholds Ruling Against Woman Who Insulted Islam". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  42. ^Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S.444 (1969)
  43. ^Brandenburg, at 447
  44. ^Brandenburg, at 450–01
  45. ^"ABA Division for Public Education: Students: Debating the "Mighty Constitutional Opposites": Hate Speech Debate". Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  46. ^Emanuel, Steven L. (25 March 2020). Emanuel Crunchtime for Constitutional Law. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. pp. 153–154. ISBN .
  47. ^Marcotte, John (1 May 2007). "free speech flag". Badmouth. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  48. ^Glanville, Jo (17 November 2008). "The big business of net censorship". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  49. ^Godwin, Mike (2003). Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age. MIT Press. pp. 349–52. ISBN .
  50. ^ abRowland, Diane (2005). Information Technology Law. Routledge-Cavendish. pp. 463–65. ISBN .
  51. ^Klang, Mathias; Murray, Andrew (2005). Human Rights in the Digital Age. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN .
  52. ^Guibault, Lucy; Hugenholtz, Bernt (2006). The future of the public domain: identifying the commons in information law. Kluwer Law International. p. 1. ISBN .
  53. ^Clarke, Ian; Miller, Scott G.; Hong, Theodore W.; Sandberg, Oskar; Wiley, Brandon (2002). "Protecting Free Expression Online with Freenet"(PDF). Internet Computing. IEEE. pp. 40–49.
  54. ^Pauli, Darren (14 January 2008). "Industry rejects Australian gov't sanitized Internet measure". The Industry Standard. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012.
  55. ^Martin, Robert; Adam, G. Stuart (1994). A Sourcebook of Canadian Media Law. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 232–34. ISBN .
  56. ^Deibert, Robert; Palfrey, John G; Rohozinski, Rafal; Zittrain, Jonathan (2008). Access denied: the practice and policy of global Internet filtering. MIT Press. ISBN .
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  58. ^"Internet Enemies"(PDF). Paris: Reporters Without Borders. March 2011. Archived from the original(PDF) on 15 March 2011.
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  71. ^

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Party for Freedom

This article is about the present-day Party for Freedom. For the historic party, see Freedom Party (Netherlands).

Dutch political party

Political party in the Netherlands

The Party for Freedom (Dutch: Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) is a nationalist,[5]right-wing populist[5]political party in the Netherlands.

Founded in 2006 as the successor to Geert Wilders' one-man faction in the House of Representatives, it won nine seats in the 2006 general election making it the fifth-largest party in parliament. In the 2010 general election it won 24 seats, making it the third-largest party. At that time the PVV agreed to support the minority government led by Prime MinisterMark Rutte without having PVV ministers in the cabinet. However, the PVV withdrew its support in April 2012 due to differences over budget cuts at the Catshuis.[17] In the following 2012 Dutch general election it won 15 seats, having lost 9 seats in the elections, still being the third-largest party. Following the elections, the party returned to the opposition and in the 2017 election, the Party for Freedom won 20 seats, making it the second-largest party in Parliament. It came third in the 2014 European Parliament election, winning four out of 26 seats.[18][19]

The PVV calls for items like administrative detention and a strong assimilationist stance on the integration of immigrants into Dutch society, differing from the established centre-right parties in the Netherlands (like the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, VVD). The PVV has also proposed banning the Quran and shutting down all mosques in the Netherlands.[20][21] In addition, the party is consistently Eurosceptic[22][23] and since early July 2012, according to the platform it presented prior to elections in September, it strongly advocates withdrawal from the European Union.[24]

Party for Freedom is an association with Geert Wilders as its sole member; thus the party is ineligible for Dutch government funding, and relies on donations.[25]



The party's history began with Geert Wilders' departure from the VVD in September 2004. Wilders could not accept the VVD's positive stance towards Turkey's possible accession to the European Union, and left the party disgruntled.[citation needed]

Although the VVD expected Wilders to return his parliamentary seat to the party, he refused, and continued to sit in parliament as a one-man party, Groep Wilders (Wilders Group).[citation needed]

In June 2005, Wilders was one of the leaders in the campaign against the European Constitution, which was rejected by Dutch voters by 62%.[26]


On 22 February 2006, the Party for Freedom was registered with the Electoral Council.[1]

Bart Jan Spruyt, director of the conservativeEdmund Burke Foundation, joined Wilders in January 2006 in order to formulate a party programme and to train its prospective representatives for the forthcoming national election (then still scheduled for 2007).[27] Spruyt left the party in the summer of 2006 after it proved unable to build broad conservative backing, and people like Joost Eerdmans and Marco Pastors proved unwilling to join.[28] After the 2006 elections, Spruyt said he was not surprised that the Party for Freedom had gained seats but maintained that, if the Party for Freedom had sought cooperation with Eerdmans and Pastors, it would have won more, even enough to bring about a CDA-VVDmajority government.[29] Later, Spruyt commented that the PVV had a 'natural tendency' toward fascism.[30] He later qualified the statement, though he didn't withdraw it. Former PVV candidate Lucas Hartong called Spruyt's claims 'a cheap insinuation'.[31]

In an HP/De Tijd profile dated December 2006, the party was described as a cult, with an extremely distrustful Wilders only accepting fellow candidates completely loyal to him, and compared the PVV to the Socialist Party led by Jan Marijnissen but without reaching that degree of organisational perfection.[32]

On 10 January 2007, the PVV announced it would not field candidates at the forthcoming Provincial elections. This meant it would be unrepresented in the Senate.[33]

On 13 January 2007, NRC Handelsblad reported that a PVV intern had solicited for signatures on the website forums Dutch Disease Report and Polinco, the latter a forum described as far-right by various organisations, among them the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet.[34] Any party participating in this election was required to collect at least 30 signatures from supporters in each of the 19 electoral districts; of the 1500 signatures the PVV received, the Dutch Antifascist group identified 34 known far-right supporters. In a response, Wilders said he regretted that far-right sympathisers had provided signatures, denied any personal responsibility for them and reasserted his dislike of far-right parties like National Front of France and Flemish Interest.[35][36][37] Noted writer and columnist Leon de Winter later declared the affair to be the result of a campaign of demonisation against Geert Wilders led by NRC Handelsblad and de Volkskrant newspapers, as well as the broadcaster VARA.[38]

Former trade union leader and prominent Christian Democrat Doekle Terpstra proposed an initiative against Geert Wilders and the PVV on 30 November 2007, in the newspaper Trouw.[39] Terpstra sees Wilders as promoting intolerance, and discrimination against Muslims. He is supported in his cause by the large Dutch trade unions and refugee organisations. Politicians and the public are divided on Terpstra's initiative.[40] The newspaper De Pers reported the next day that much of Terpstra's claimed support did not materialise.[41]

In 2008, the Friends of the Party of Freedom commissioned a producer, who acted under the name of "Scarlet Pimpernel Productions", a pseudonym adopted out of fear of reprisal,[42] to produce Fitna (Arabic: فِتْنَةٌ‎), a short film by Geert Wilders. Approximately 17 minutes in length, it shows selected excerpts from Suras of the Qur'an, interspersed with media clips and newspaper cuttings showing or describing acts of violence or hatred by Muslims. The film attempts to demonstrate that the Qur'an motivates its followers to hate all who violate Islamic teachings. Consequently, the film argues that Islam encourages acts of terrorism, antisemitism, violence against women and homosexuals, and Islamic universalism. A large part of the film deals with the influence of Islam on the Netherlands. The film's title, the Arabic word "fitna", means either "disagreement and division among people" or a "test of faith in times of trial".[43] Wilders described the film as "a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamisation".[44]

Polling by Maurice de Hond published in March 2009 indicated that the PVV was the most popular parliamentary party. The polls predicted that the party would take 21 per cent of the national vote, giving it 32 out of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament. If the polling results were to be replicated at a genuine election, Wilders would be a major power broker and could become Prime Minister.[45][46][47] However, De Hond's results were not uncontroversial, as they were based on a panel of people who have signed up for the election poll on the Internet and thus were not a random sample. According to Joop van Holsteyn, professor of election research, therefore, De Hond's polls were not representative of the population.[48] Other Dutch polls (Politieke Barometer and TNS NIPO) have shown contrasting results, with the PVV often getting less support, though still remaining very popular.

On 15 May 2009, the PVV asked Balkenende to support the foundation of a Greater Netherlands actively.[49][third-party source needed]

By February 2010, the PVV had once more become the most popular party, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond which said it would win 27–32 parliameary seats in the next election, up two from the previous poll in early January.[50][51]

On 3 March 2010, elections for the local councils were held in the municipalities of the Netherlands. The PVV only contested these in The Hague and Almere, because of a shortage of good candidates. MP Raymond de Roon headed the campaign in his home town of Almere. Fellow MP Sietse Fritsma was appointed head of the local election campaign in The Hague. Both men would continue to serve as MPs as well as local councillors after their election.[52] The PVV made big gains, suggesting that the party and Wilders might dominate the political scene in the run-up to the parliamentary elections scheduled on 9 June 2010. The PVV won in Almere and came second to the Labour Party in The Hague. In Almere, the PVV won 21 percent of the vote to Labour's 18 percent, preliminary results showed. In The Hague, the PVV had 8 seats – second to Labour with 10 seats. The local elections were the first test of public opinion since the collapse of the 4th Balkenende cabinet in February 2010. The municipal elections were overshadowed by the fall of the cabinet and the forthcoming parliamentary elections.[53]

On 8 March 2010, Wilders announced he would take a seat on The Hague city council, after it became clear that he had won 13,000 preference votes. Earlier he had said he would not do so.[54][55] One week after these local elections, the PVV called for an inquiry into the elections in The Hague, since a YouTube clip allegedly showed irregularities, including more than one person entering polling booths at the same time and a voter not putting the ballot paper into the box. These calls were rejected. The Hague council said the municipal elections had gone well and that any complaint should anyway have been lodged immediately after the results were announced. In Rotterdam, a full recount was held after a protest by Leefbaar Rotterdam, a local party with a programme broadly similar to that of the PVV.[56][57]

On 18 March 2010, the PVV gave up trying to form a governing coalition in Almere. In a press release, the party said most of the other parties had refused to give ground to PVV demands on what it describes as "essential issues". These include what the party calls ‘city commandos’: street patrols to keep order in the face of inadequate proper law enforcement. Other obstacles were the PVV's demands for reduced taxes for Almere residents and its fight against what the party sees as "the increasing influence of Islam in Dutch society". The PVV complained that it was forced to stay in the opposition through the manoeuvring of the political elite.[58]


Distribution of the people that voted for the Party for Freedom in 2010

In the parliamentary elections of 9 June 2010, the PVV went from 9 to 24 seats (of 150), winning over 15% of the votes, making the PVV the third largest party in parliament.[citation needed]

By July 2010, the PVV again became the biggest party in the polls after the parliamentary elections, following difficulties in forming a new coalition and the PVV technically being excluded from the coalition talks because the CDA showed reluctance to cooperate with the PVV. According to the polls, the PVV would get 35 seats in a new election, which is a record high number.[59]

In August 2010, during the difficult cabinet formation following the elections, the PVV emerged as a prominent player in a proposal for a new minority government in the Netherlands. While the party would not gain a ministerial appointment, the PVV would tolerate a centre-right minority government coalition: a proposed deal that would make the party one of the most influential forces. Led by Ivo Opstelten, a former mayor of Rotterdam who was appointed mediator for the next stage of negotiations, the forming of a government of VVD and Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) with support of the PVV was negotiated; the resulting coalition agreement "included elements it pushed for, such as a burqa ban," though the ban was never put in place.[60] The VVD and CDA would have to rely on the PVV to get important legislation through. With this deal the Netherlands would follow the "Danish model", since in Denmark the anti-immigration Danish People's Party also stayed out of government but supported a minority center-right Liberal-Conservative government.[61] The very fact of the participation of the PVV in these coalition negotiations has caused fierce discussions in political circles[which?] and was considered[by whom?] very unlikely until recently.[citation needed]

After the elections, CDA parliamentary fraction president Maxime Verhagen first had stated that as a matter of principle he refused to negotiate with VVD and PVV about a centre-right government, saying that the PVV represented views that could not be reconciled with Dutch law. These objections on principle disappeared in five weeks and Verhagen turned out to be willing to negotiate over a cabinet whose fate would (also) lie in the hands of Wilders.[62]

On 20 March 2012, Hero Brinkman quit the party, citing a lack of democratic structure within the PVV among other things; qualifying this with a statement of continued support for the minority Rutte cabinet.[63] Two days later, three members of the States of North Holland representing the PVV followed his example.[64] In July 2012, Marcial Hernandez and Wim Kortenoeven quit the PVV, both citing what they considered to be Wilders' autocratic leadership of the party.[65]


In the parliamentary elections of 12 September 2012, the PVV went from 24 to 15 seats (of 150), winning 10% of the vote.[citation needed]

In October 2013, the party expelled Louis Bontes, but he kept his seat in parliament.[citation needed] In March 2014, Roland van Vliet and Joram van Klaveren left the party and also kept their seats in parliament.[citation needed]

In the European Parliament election on 22 May 2014, the party kept its four seats in the European Parliament.[66] MEP Hans Jansen died on 5 May 2015 and was replaced by Auke Zijlstra on 1 September 2015.[67]

On 16 June 2015, the Party for Freedom and other right-wing nationalist parties in the European Parliament formed the political groupEurope of Nations and Freedom.[68][69]Marcel de Graaff of the PVV and Marine Le Pen of the National Front became the first co-presidents of this group.[69]


For the 2017 Dutch general election, the Party for Freedom had an election platform of a single page.[70] Before the election, all major parties said they would not form a government coalition with the PVV.[71] A typical House of Representatives has a large number of parties represented, since it takes as little as 0.67 percent of the vote to get a seat. With such a fragmented vote, the PVV would have needed the support of other parties in order to make Wilders prime minister, even if it won the most seats in the House of Representatives. Wilders hinted that a "revolution" would occur if the PVV won the most seats and was still locked out of power.[72]

The party won 20 seats (of 150) according to the preliminary results, which is five seats more than in the previous election in 2012, making it the second-largest party in Parliament.[73]

The party performed poorly in the 2019 Dutch provincial elections, losing 26 seats, with the Forum for Democracy taking many of its voters.[74]


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The Party for Freedom combines conservative, liberal, right and left standpoints in a populistic programme.[75] On certain themes like healthcare, social services and elderly care the PVV can be seen as left and social, though selective.[76] Regarding immigration and culture the party is nationalistic. It believes that the Judeo-Christian and humanist traditions should be taken as the dominant culture in the Netherlands, and that immigrants should adapt accordingly. The party wants a halt to immigration especially from non-Western countries. It is hostile towards the EU, is against future EU enlargement to Muslim-majority countries like Turkey and opposes a dominant presence of Islam in the Netherlands.[77] More specifically, the party has called for a banning the Quran, and shutting down all mosques in the Netherlands.[20][21][78] The party is also opposed to dual citizenship (see below). The Party for Freedom's political platform has sometimes overlapped with that of the assassinated Rotterdam politician Pim Fortuyn and his Pim Fortuyn List.[79] Wilders has been described as positioning himself to inherit Fortuyn's former supporters.[80]

The Parliamentary Documentation Center (Parlementair Documentatie Centrum) of the Leiden University characterises the PVV as "populist, with both conservative, liberal, right-wing and left-wing positions".[81]

On André Krouwel's map of the Dutch political spectrum in 2012, the Party for Freedom is conservativeon the socio-cultural axis, and centriston the socio-economic axis.

In December 2008, the eighth study "Monitor Racism and Extremism",[82] conducted by the Anne Frank Foundation and the Leiden University, has found that the Party for Freedom can be considered far-right, although "with ifs and buts". Economically, they are viewed as a left-wing party. Peter Rodrigues and Jaap van Donselaar, who have academically guided the study, explain this classification with the Islamophobia, nationalism, and "sharp aversion to the strange", subsumed as racism, which they have observed within the party.[83][84]

In January 2010, the report Polarisatie en radicalisering in Nederland[85] (transl. "Polarisation and radicalisation in the Netherlands") by political researchers Moors, Lenke Balogh, Van Donselaar and De Graaff from the Tilburg University research group IVA[86] stated that the PVV was not an extreme right-wing party, but contained some radical right-wing elements. The study claims that the PVV holds xenophobic ideas, but not antisemitic ideas – the PVV describes its culture as Jewish-Christian humanistic.[87] "The PVV statements on Islamisation and non-Western immigrants appear to be discriminatory and the party organisation is authoritarian rather than democratic", said the researchers, who were looking into polarisation and radicalism across the Netherlands. They described the PVV as the "new radical right", a party with a national democratic ideology but without extreme right-wing roots. In particular, the report stated that the party's pro-Israel stance showed that it was not neo-Nazi. It tends however towards a national democratic ideology. Wilders called the report "scandalous"—in particular the link between defending the national interest and the radical right.[citation needed]

An alleged earlier version of the report, leaked to the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant in November 2009, said that Wilders' party is an extreme right-wing grouping and a threat to social cohesion and democracy. The paper claimed at the time the researchers were under pressure to water down the conclusions because of their political sensitivity.[citation needed] The Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom RelationsGuusje ter Horst, (2007–2010), Labour (PvdA), who commissioned the research, denied exerting any interference.[88][89] In response, Wilders accused her of "playing a dirty game".[90][91]

Some commentators and international scholarly publications have argued that the party is far-right; for example, the ex-prime minister Van Agt regards the party as ultra-right-wing, and Bert de Vries (CDA) draws comparisons with the small Centre Party.[92] The political scientist Lucardie, on the other hand, considers it necessary to reserve the 'far-right' qualification for national socialists and fascists, though PVV is itself widely accused of fascism.[93] International media outlets, similarly, have followed this classification.[94][95] The party has been regarded by some as anti-Polish, anti-Slavic, anti-Romani and anti-Muslim.[96][40][97]Wilders however maintains that he is not anti-Muslim, only anti-Islam, summing up his views by stating "I don't hate Muslims, I hate Islam".[98]


Dual nationality[edit]

In February 2007, PVV parliamentarian Fritsma introduced a motion that would have prohibited any parliamentarian or executive branch politician from having dual citizenship. The PVV claimed that dual nationals have unclear loyalty. The motion would have made it difficult, if not impossible for Labour MPs Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak to become members of the fourth Balkenende cabinet. The motion had to be withdrawn, however, after objection from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gerdi Verbeet (Labour Party).[99]Maastricht University law professor Twan Tak has commented on the risk in executive branch officials having dual citizenship.[100] however the European Convention on Human Rights as reviewed in 2010 ECtHR jurisprudence has reaffirmed that form of discrimination is a violation of a human right.[101] However, in 2007 the PVV planned to call for a vote of no confidence against junior ministers Aboutaleb and Albayrak when the new cabinet had its first meeting with the House of Representatives, claiming that their respectively Moroccan and Turkish passports put their loyalties into question.[102] In the event, the motion was only supported by the PVV itself.[103]

The issue of dual nationality, however, was not over yet. On 2 March 2007, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported that Labour Party MP Khadija Arib, who had been sworn into parliament the day before, was sitting on a commission appointed by the king of Morocco.[104] The PVV said that this commission work endangers Arib's loyalty to the Netherlands, and that she should choose between being a member of the Dutch parliament or the Moroccan commission. Geert Wilders said that Arib's remark on national television that her loyalty lay neither with the Netherlands nor Morocco was shameful.[105] The liberal VVD party similarly remarked that her "double orientation would hurt Dutch integration."[106] All other parties were appalled by the PVV and VVD's comments.[107]

Perhaps in the light of the Moldova ruling, in the first Rutte government in 2010 chaired by the VVD leader, supported by the PVV, Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten became the new State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, having both Dutch and Swedish nationality.[108]


The party fielded a controversial motion in the 2007 general deliberations on the immigration budget, calling for a stop to immigration from Muslim countries. The House of Representatives at first declined to bring the motion forward for debate. Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said it was in violation of the Dutch constitution and international law.[109] Another motion by the PVV, against police officers wearing veils, did gain a parliamentary majority.[110]

In 2012, the PVV party launched a website named Reporting Centre on Central and East Europeans to receive complaints about Central and East European immigrants in the Netherlands. 'Do you have problems with people from Central and Eastern Europe? Have you lost your job to a Pole, a Bulgarian, a Romanian or another East European? We want to know,' the website states. It displays newspaper headlines such as 'Wouldn't it be better if you went back home?' and 'East Europeans, increasingly criminal'. The European Commission has condemned the website, and EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding declared, "We call on all citizens of the Netherlands not to join in this intolerance. Citizens should instead clearly state on the PVV's website that Europe is a place of freedom."[111][112] The website caused a lot of controversy within the European Union.[113]

Financing political parties[edit]

The PVV has declared that, since it is against state subsidies, it rejects the idea of itself being financially supported by the government and believes the "taxpayers should not pay for political parties they don't support".[114]

In 2012, the Dutch Parliament discussed tightening the financial rules for political parties, forcing them to become more transparent. The PVV indicated that it would use any means available to avoid disclosing the identity of its donors.[115]

Israeli-Arab conflict[edit]

The PVV supports the one-state solution and considers Jordan to be 'the only Palestinian state that will ever exist'.[116] In 2010, Geert Wilders voiced his support for Yisrael Beiteinu and held talks with its leader Avigdor Lieberman. [117] Geert Wilders is a frequent visitor to Israel and spent six months on a moshav in the West Bank at the age of 17 and the party is strongly open to move Dutch embassy to Jerusalem.

Party platform[edit]

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Other policies that Wilders mentions in his party programme for the 2010 general election:[118]

  • Harsh punishment of violence against Jews and the LGBT community, which it claims is disproportionately committed by Muslims (p. 13)
  • Recording the ethnicity of all Dutch citizens. (p. 11)
  • Prohibition of halal and kosher slaughter (p. 55) (However, Wilders has stated that opposition to kosher slaughter was not part of his party's agenda and that support for the ban had been withdrawn)[119]
  • Limitation of cannabis coffee shops within a radius of no less than 1 kilometer from schools (p. 11)
  • Active repatriation of criminals of foreign citizenship and Dutch nationals originating from the Netherlands Antilles (p. 11)
  • Deportation of criminals having foreign nationality or multiple citizenship back to their country of origin, after a prison sentence (p. 13)
  • Restrictions on immigrant labour from new EU member states and Islamic countries (p. 15)
  • Removal of resources from anti-climate change programs, development aid, and immigration services (p. 17)
  • Abolition of the Dutch Senate (p. 19)
  • Shutting down of all Islamic schools and mosques (p. 15)
  • Ban on Islamic gender apartheid (p. 15)
  • The General Pension (AOW) age not to be increased beyond 65 (p. 21)
  • Governmental communication to be exclusively in Dutch or Frisian (p. 35)
  • Dutch language proficiency and a 10-year Dutch residency and work experience requirement for welfare assistance (p. 15)
  • Constitutional protection of the dominance of the Judeo-Christian and humanistic culture of the Netherlands (p. 35)
  • Choosing to defend the essential elements of Dutch culture: freedom of the LGBT community, as well as assured equality of men and women which Islam strongly challenges (p. 33)
  • Respect for May 4 as a day to remember victims of National Socialism. (p. 35)
  • Repeal of no-smoking legislation in bars (p. 39)
  • Referring to Jordan as 'Palestine' (p. 43)
  • One-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict (p. 43)
  • Investment in more nuclear power plants and clean coal plants to reduce dependency on imported oil and because coal is cheaper (p. 47)
  • Withdrawal from the European Union.
  • Return to the guilder (old Dutch currency) and abandonment of the euro.
  • Abolition of the European Parliament and no cooperation in any EU activity.
  • Ask the EU to remove the "Dutch" star in the European flag.
  • Repeal flight tax or carbon dioxide tax.[citation needed]
  • Binding referendum on subjects like the EU and a multicultural society.
  • No more tax money to (political) left organisations.[citation needed]
  • Keeping track of the ethnicity of people who have committed crimes.
  • Select policemen on "decisiveness".
  • Binding assimilation contracts for immigrants.
  • Taxes on the Islamic headscarf and prohibition of the Koran.[citation needed]
  • Ban on headscarves in any public function.
  • Support Afrikaners, as it is Dutch heritage.
  • Opposition to Turkey's membership in NATO; support for remaining in NATO.
  • Halt all support and propaganda for Palestine and Palestinians and recognize West Jerusalem as Israeli Capital.
  • No more windmills and funding for durability or CO2 reduction; no more "fiscal greening".[citation needed]

Name and symbols[edit]

The name 'Party for Freedom' (Partij voor de Vrijheid) is a reference to the Freedom Party (Partij van de Vrijheid), a Dutch political party founded in 1946, shortly after World War II. In 1948, the Freedom Party went on as the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie), which is the party Wilders split from.[120]

The party logo consists of the party name and a gull in red, white, and blue, which are the colors of the Dutch flag.[1][121] The gull symbolises freedom or liberty.[121][122] The gull had also been used as a symbol by the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands on propaganda posters and for their youth wing, but Wilders claimed it was not inspired by Nazi usage.[122][123]


In order to register for elections in the Netherlands, a political party needs to be an association (Dutch: vereniging), which can be founded by two or more members.[124][125] The Vereniging Groep Wilders (Association Group Wilders) was founded by the natural person Geert Wilders and Stichting Groep Wilders (Foundation Group Wilders), of which Wilders is the only board member.[126][127] The association was later renamed to Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom).[1] After the creation of the association, Wilders disabled new member registration, resulting in his remaining the sole member of the party.[1][126] The party does not organise public party conferences and does not have local departments, a youth wing, or a research institute.[1][126]


In the Netherlands, a political party needs to have 1,000 members or more to be eligible for government funding, a requirement which the Party for Freedom does not meet with Wilders being the only member.[1][128]

On several instances the PVV applied for and received European Union funding.[129]

Financially, the party has been largely relying on donations. The party has not disclosed any of its finances until 2013. According to Hero Brinkman, a former MP for the party, the PVV received most of its finances from certain foreign (American) lobby-groups.[130] According to Reuters, Daniel Pipes'Middle East Forum paid for the trials and security of Geert Wilders and David Horowitz paid Wilders "a good fee" for two speeches given in the US.[131][132]

Since 2013, Dutch political parties are required by law to disclose all donations of 4,500 euro or more.[128][133] The Party for Freedom disclosed no donations for 2013.[134] For 2014 to 2016, the party disclosed a total of 148,391.07 euro in donations from the California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, a total of 18,700 euro in donations from a private donor in the Netherlands, and a donation of 6,853.70 euro from the New York-based company FOL Inc.[133][135][136][137] The 2015 donations of just over 108,244 euro from the Freedom Center was "the largest individual contribution to a Dutch political party that year."[138]

Election results[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]


European Parliament[edit]


Members of the House of Representatives[edit]

The seventeen members of the House of Representatives for the Party for Freedom are:[145]

Members of the Senate[edit]

The nine members (eight men, one woman) of the Senate for the Party for Freedom are:[146]

Members of the European Parliament[edit]

Further information: 2019 European Parliament election in the Netherlands

See also: List of Party for Freedom Members of the European Parliament

See also: Party lists in the 2019 European Parliament election in the Netherlands § PVV (Party for Freedom)

The PVV lost all it seats in the 2019 European Parliament election. The party is however due to have an MEP appointed in the wake of the re-allocation of UK seats after Brexit

See also[edit]


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