Freedom of Speech; Your Say

Article excerpt

AFTER reading the attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of the press by Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon and the Chairman of Middlesbrough Council Labour Councillor Bloundelle at the recent special council meeting convened by the Mayor, I decided to look up three historic figures for their comments on freedom of speech.

At less than three months short of 90, I have a growing sense of urgency that I, and my generation owe something, even if it is only a sense of our responsibility, to the young generations that follow us.

The three figures I chose area politician, US President Franklin Roosevelt; A philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778 and Scotland's famous poet Robert Burns.

President Franklin D Roosevelt, in an address to the US Congress on January 6, 1941, said: "in the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world." 1941 was the third year of World War II.

The first line of Rousseau's book The Social Contract reads: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. …