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19 December 2019

Queen’s Speech: Government Pledges To Promote Freedom of Speech

The Government will continue to work to promote freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law, according to the Queen’s Speech today.  

Laying out the legislative priorities of the new administration, the Queen said:  “My Ministers will promote the United Kingdom’s interests, including freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law.”

Last year, the UK launched a global campaign to promote media freedom and hosted a media freedom conference with Canada in July.

The conference saw the launch of a coalition of Governments who sign up to a pledge that commits them to speak out and take action together when media freedom is at risk, and to champion the cause around the world.

The News Media Association has been in touch with the Foreign Office since the campaign’s inception. 

The Conservative Party’s manifesto pledged to continue this work, stating: “We will continue our campaigns to promote international media freedom and to eradicate human trafficking and the scourge of modern slavery

The manifesto referenced the importance of press freedom in other areas.

Outlining plans to tackle online harms, the manifesto said any new regime would “at the same time defending freedom of expression and in particular recognising and defending the invaluable role of a free press.”

The manifesto also stated that, to support free speech, the party would repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and not proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry.