Students Keep "No Platforming" Contentious Speakers. Should They Stop?

Perspective Writers' Votes
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No-platforming should be abandoned because it is an assault on free speech.

Pros
Cons
  • Universities, as institutes designed for the exchange of knowledge, have a special obligation to promote free speech.

  • Freedom of speech is protected in a number of international instruments and domestic legislation.

  • It is unacceptable to sacrifice people's right to free speech in an attempt to restrict those expressing oppressive beliefs.

  • No platforming by any name has long been a favoured tool of authoritarians everywhere. It supports and engenders authoritarianism, which we don't want.

  • All ideas should have a voice, even with we disagree with the ideas.

  • Freedom is nothing if it precludes the freedom to insult and be insulted. No one should be banned from speaking and no one should be forced to attend.

  • No-platform allows an individual organization to decide who is and isn't allowed to speak. This in itself disables the morals of free speech from those who have a controversial opinion

  • Deplatforming people with dissident opinions is just another form of censorship that prevents the free exchange of ideas that is essential to any civilized country.

  • When you prevent someone from speaking by shouting them down or shutting down their event, you not only infringe upon their right to free speech, but also on everyone else's right to hear whatever is being said.

  • Racist speakers are the ones diminishing options for free speech of others by ignoring their equal rights to politics. No-platforming can thereby also be a protection of freedom of speech for those who would otherwise be silenced.

  • There are certain beliefs in society that are decidedly "not socially acceptable," specifically support for genocide, support for slavery, and other similar crimes against humanity. Those specific beliefs have no place in our sociopolitical system. Nazism in particular is aligned with fascism, and therefore is not protected by democracy.

  • Free speech laws guarantee the speaker protection from governmental oppression- not critique or protest from the civilian citizenry. With that in mind, it is not only permissible, but obligatory, to consider civil dissent in determining to whom public platforms should be given.

  • In fact, giving someone a platform is a form of speech/expression. Thus, saying that organizations are obligated to provide platforms for ideas they disagree with is a violation of the organization's right to free expression.

  • The National Union of Students considers that their policy "does not limit free speech, but acts to defend it by calling out violence, hate speech, bullying and harassment, which allows debate to take place without intimidation".

  • No-platforming is a valid way to exercise free speech and counterbalance power asymmetries.

  • Free speech does not entail being entitled to a pulpit. Thus, denial of a platform is not a violation of free speech.

  • There are limits on free speech, such as in the case of hate speech. In these cases, no-platforming cannot be reasonably construed as a violation of free speech.