About Us

A time of concern

The risking of life solely to promote controversial ideas, has undeniably been a continuous historical focal point of Western civilisation — Socrates was condemned to suicide by the Athenian city state in 399 BC.

 

 

Not too long ago, being born in Europe meant being the recipient of a unique inheritance. A tradition of freedom in thought, opinion and expression envied the world over. Indeed a commitment to the free exchange of ideas which had always been the driving force of an unparalleled history of creativity, industry and innovation.

But times change. Two entirely admirable drives for social stability and public safety, have resulted in a radical shift in the criminal justice systems specifically of the nations of the EU. Domestic legislation has also been compounded by the effect of European law. The result is that Britain, for example, is now a country that imprisons someone on a weekly basis for saying the wrong thing.

We have not reached this point by accident. Those who should have been protecting one of the most fundamental of all our human rights: that of the ordinary person to speak freely; have failed us miserably.

Though several organisations exist whose ostensible purpose purports to include vigilance over the individual’s right to free expression, for political reasons known best to themselves, such bodies have largely seemed far more comfortable sympathising with the reasoning put forward to erode our rights, than with fighting to protect them. Much of the difficulty surrounding this issue undeniably concerns the subject of race. The shameful result of this has also been that no politician either, of any stripe, exists who will unapologetically stand up for free speech. In addition any body which sought to successfully formulate solutions, to the disparate nature of free speech challenges across the continent, would be presented with transnational issues unique to the continent.

Perhaps most troublingly, when citizens in Europe have been incarcerated for the most astonishing of reasons, the established press have frequently cheered the process on. Extraordinarily, this same press now finds itself unconvincingly demanding that its own rights to free expression not be curtailed. As if “institutions” were capable of possessing rights. A free press is no more than the communal expression of the universal right to free speech of those who constitute it. Restricting the press is the logical result of restricting the rights of the individuals who make it up, and the majority of the media across the partisan spectrum must face up to their loud collusion in this continent wide cultural process.

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” – J.S. Mill

 

 

Our unique vision

Until now there has been no coherent voice in public life seeking to defend the right to free speech as the public expression of freedom of conscience. Nevertheless significant public opinion is now noting that it is a commonplace for people to be incarcerated, from the increasing belief held by EU nation state governments that they have jurisdiction over their citizens mouths and increasingly also their minds. Especially  after much of Europe’s history is signposted by the increased and not decreased public demand to tolerate views considered controversial, dangerous, subversive or irreverent, being considered a sign of its progressive historical development.

It is high time to declare that there can be no possibility of cohesion or harmony in any society whose stability is prefaced on maintaining people in fear: in order to prevent them saying what they think. Moreover, Europe cannot continue to erode its global reputation for being the continent upon which humanity learned the bitter lessons which necessitated the international codification of human rights. Rights, upon which we base chiefly, our ability politically to criticize and act as an agent for positive change, in more brutal and repressive parts of the world. Ironically, policies which have been intended to protect rights in Europe have resulted in the exploitation and persecution of the most vulnerable.

Any mature, free, sane and peace-loving polity, must find some other way to deal with thoughts and opinions it finds disagreeable, than incarcerating those who express them. It is nothing short of astonishing judges across the jurisdictions of the EU, having long since abandoned the use of the criminal justice system as a punitive instrument designed to make an example of actual criminals – through severity of sentence – who must instead be rehabilitated, now engage in enthusiastic social retribution against miscreants of thought and expression.

Moreover, when all that must happen for an individual to be deprived of their liberty, is for them to be publicly “denounced”, and no power in society can be relied upon to defend the fundamental and ancient rights of the citizen, the only alternative is for such citizens to stand up for themselves.

People who make this choice can be subject to uniquely challenging pressures and stresses: existing in a limbo zone between state prosecution, intended to suppress their views by authorities more concerned with limiting the spread of political consequences, and credible threats of death and violence against themselves and their family. The requirement to deal with state agency-persecution, coupled with mob-persecution related tribulations produces complicated and unstable lives requiring the potential for 24 hour support. Dissenting voices no longer live long  in a Europe that once yearned primarily: to be free.

Benjamin Franklin argued, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

 

 

An Institute for Free Speech

The Discourse Institute was founded on the 11th September 2011 by a community of political policy analysts, who had chiefly been engaged in examining European political affairs and not-for-profit model strategies, since 2007. Struck chiefly by the erosion of freedom of conscience in academia, a corporate agenda was set to enable the delivery of genuine EU-wide free speech reform through real world support, policy relevance, and educational outcomes.

After a preliminary and experimental period, designed to identify the funding, human resources, strategic and operational challenges facing defence of free speech organisations, and the causal factors behind these realities across several nations, a streamlined international service provision organisation was created to provide the most dramatic donation-to-effectiveness ratio.

Discourse currently consists of separate research teams, operating across three international geographic locations, attempting to provide 24hr free speech monitoring.

The three areas of current activity are:

DISCOURSTAT: Our observatory, which monitors free speech case development across Europe and seeks centrally to collate evidentiary and quantitative material, while simultaneously examining strategic contexts and exploring lines of policy responsibility.

We currently welcome communication, anonymous or otherwise, regarding European cases with free speech significance on: discourstat(at)discourseinstitute(dot)org

Those wishing to leak information anonymously on state or political corruption which seeks to utilize view-supression laws to prevent scrutiny and exposure in academia, the media, municipal government, the police, or similar public bodies, may Skype on username: discrisis, or can Direct Message communicate through Twitter account: @DISCOURSTAT

DDN: The Discourse Defence Network, based in London, is the international service provision office for noteworthy free speech crisis cases, as identified by or reported to Discourstat. Funding is never allocated on ideological grounds but according to the Discourse Criterion: which seeks to identify EU-wide those who live in the vice between state process punishment on the one hand, and the likelihood of random and murderous violence on the other.

Individuals who choose to bring the threat of death upon themselves, even as they are abandoned by the protection agencies of their states,  deserve our societies’ recognition as ”conscience criminals”; as a matter entirely separate to the controversy which might accompany the expression of their views. Service provision spending areas currently include: legal expenditure, commissioned academic research, translation, reputation management, risk assessment, communications management and on-site case supervision.

Sensitive behind the scenes parliamentary lobbying, briefing, and relationship building, is also a priority: often law makers are themselves confused by the limitations to free speech in their own nations and thoroughly welcome our approach which stresses being informative rather than influential.

The DDN encourages contact B2B, from professionals who may be willing to provide their services at more principle-driven rates. Please get through to us on LinkedIn (button on the bottom of page).

Council for Discourse: Is involved in advocacy and fundraising, the commissioning of independent academic research material and the provision of bursaries, and the authoring of faesebility studies and logistical planning for scheduled conferences and campaigns.

The Law, Media, and our website

We are not lawyers. Neither is the purpose of our institute to drive any political agenda. Our objective is the protection, through academic research and organisational support, of the principle of the importance of freedom of conscience. If the DDN becomes involved in your case, we seek to obtain funding to ensure you have independent legal representation of your own. The DDN provides its services entirely free of charge.

The most likely place you’d meet a Discourse Case Officer is in a transport hub staring at a laptop. We are therefore limited in terms of our ability to service media enquiries, this means we naturally favour invitations from companies which realize that our goal is primarily educational, not the accomplishment of publicity objectives.

Similarly our organizational objective is performance, measurable by reputational growth. We prioritize the development of best practice in our research and service approach, before talking about them on our website, which is not a primary concern within the current developmental stage of our charity model.

FUNDING

Our political independence is so important to us, that our incorporating charter forbids any receipt of state or EU-level grant money. We subsist only on donations from individuals or other charitable institutions. Those seeking to request annual reports and financial statements should please email us their details.

We hope that the reason you are reading this is because you have heard good things about us, which is why if that’s the case you are more than welcome to pop a few pennies into our DONATE button, below.