Article 10 represents a fundamental protection of the hard-won right to freedom of expression, which is one of the cornerstones of our civilisation. We exercise this right every day without thinking about it: it provides a legal basis for our ability to debate and to disagree and to speak our minds within the law without fear of prosecution or police harassment.
The law recognises that we have a duty to behave responsibly and to respect other people’s right and the authorities may restrict this right; for example, to prevent disorder and crime, to protect the rights and reputations of others (for example, to prevent defamation), and to prevent the disclosure of personal information.
Article 10 enables us all to comment upon and criticise people, groups, governments and ideas without fear of prosecution. This bedrock of modern, democratic society is under threat from the authorities, who are warning people to watch what they say or tweet even though they have not broken the law. Read some case studies here.
It is not just what the police are doing that is at issue: it is what they are not doing.
Aside from the individual cases that we have compiled on this site, Fair Cop is deeply concerned about the threat to freedom of assembly, especially the actions of activists opposed to gender critical feminists. In the last year, we have seen several alarming examples of activists who have physically prevented women from entering meetings, especially those convened by A Woman’s Place (WPUK) – a group led by feminists who are opposed to changes in the Gender Recognition Act.
What’s more WPUK has suffered bomb threats, targeted harassment of their venues demanding that they cancel meetings and even physical altercations. Police responses to these incidents have been woefully inadequate.
Fair Cop calls on the police to respect the law and to treat everyone equally, fairly – and in accordance to the law.