Freedom of expression

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a central tenet of an author's work and livelihood. We work to protect free speech, and to create an environment where all are afforded an equal voice.

We oppose in the strongest terms any attempt to stifle or control the author's voice whether by censorship, imprisonment, execution, hate speech or inappropriate trolling.

The SoA also stands against the marginalisation of minority voices in the UK on any grounds, including those of ethnicity, disability and class, and we support initiatives to promote diversity in UK publishing.

Scottish and Northern Irish Libel Law

The Defamation Act came into law in 2013. Unfortunately, only England and Wales adopted all of the improvements to libel law included in the Act - Scotland enacted only a few and Northern Ireland none at all.

We now have an opportunity to press for reform in Scotland. The Scottish Law Commission has written and recommended a draft bill, and we need to put pressure on the Government to agree and adopt it. The Scottish Government consulted on reforming the law in early 2019, and will report back later in the year. 

We are supporting Scottish PEN's campaign to reform Scottish defamation law. You can find out more here. 

Speak Out

We work alongside English PEN and the Publishers Association on Speak Out, a campaign to raise awareness and international support for writers at risk.

Julian Assange

With respect to the freedom of expression Article 10 allegations, like any other, Julian Assange should be treated with humanity and afforded his full human rights.