Pernicious Messaging

There is an enduring idea that Britain spread the freedom of speech around the world — but it enforced censorship in its own Empire.

John Lilburne on the pillory at Westminster, 1638 (1905). Lilburne (1614-1657) was an English Leveller who campaigned for what he described as ‘freeborn rights’ which every human being was born with. From Cassell's History of England, Vol. II, (Cassell and Company, Limited, London, Paris, New York & Melbourne, 1905). (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)

The British love to proclaim that freedom of speech is at the heart of their identity, and a gift given to the rest of the world. Throughout British history, there are examples of speech being limited or constrained, with radical movements often building their demands around the rejection of censorship. This was usually connected to […]

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