Denmark HQ

The parent organization of the International Free Press Society is the Danish Free Press Society. Their English-language page is here: Trykkefrihedsselskabet

Welcome to The Free Press Society
Contact: trykkefrihed@trykkefrihed.dk or 0045 40 16 72 42
President: Lars Hedegaard
Vicepresident: Katrine Winkel Holm

At a time when Western civilisation faces threats both external and from within, the Danish Free Press Society is an important ally in defending and upholding that right most crucial and fundamental to a liberal society – the freedom of speech.

– Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I am greatly encouraged by the accomplishments of The Free Press Society. It is a major reason why champions of free speech throughout the world are increasingly looking to Denmark for inspiration.

– Ibn Warraq

Since its start in 2005 we have been able to count on The Free Press Society whenever free speech has needed defending. This has made The Free Press Society an indispensable voice in our public discource.

– Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Culture in the Danish Government

Free speech is at the very core of any vibrant democracy. It is therefore gratifying that The Free Press Society has become such a distinct voice in our public life.

– Naser Khader, Member of the Danish Parliament

About Free Press Society
Since its first appearance on the public stage in 2005, The Free Press Society has gained a reputation of an uncompromising champion of free speech. Today the Society is Denmark´s biggest organisation exclusively devoted to defending the right of free expression. Its views are frequently quoted in the national press, and it is known for great number of activities intended to focus attention on this most precious right guaranteed the Danish Constitution.

Our many public debates and seminars featuring influential Danish and foreign writers, intellectuals, publicists, artists and politicians continue to attract much political and media attention. Speakers have included Ibn Warraq, Daniel Pipes, Geert Wilders, Henryk Broder, Bruce Bawer, Samia Labidi, Elisabeth Schemla, Shabana Rehman, Bat Ye´or, Chahdortt Djavann, Roy Brown, Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, Asger Aamund, Tøger Seidenfaden and Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen

Also our two yearly awards – The Free Speech Award and the Sappho Award have gained much media attention. In 2008 the Free Speech Award was given to the writer Ibn Warraq. The Sappho Award was given to the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

The Sappho Award is a specific journalistic prize awarded by the editors of our internet magazine Sappho.dk Sappho – the Greek poetess from the sixth century B.C. – is depicted in our logo. Plato characterised her as the tenth muse, and Sappho has adopted her as the Muse of Free Speech.

2008 saw yet another addition to our activities in the shape of our publishing house, The Free Speech Library. The Library, which is a separate enterprise under its own management and editorial board, specializes in publications that are important from a free speech perspective but may not appeal to major publishers.

Membership of The Free Press Society is open to anyone willing to stand up for freedom of expression regardless of nationality, ancestry, religion or political persuasion.

Why The Free Press Society?
We have taken our name from the Society that was established in 1835 when the adherents of free speech feared encroachment by the State. The old Society was dissolved in 1849 in recognition of Denmark’s first democratic constitution that guaranteed the freedom of expression. Today, however, free speech is again being threatened, primarily by religious and ideological interests and international pressure groups. For this reason we have found is necessary to re-establish the Society.

A number of spectacular and alarming violations of free speech that have taken place in Denmark and other European countries leave no doubt that the Western world is subjected to deliberate attempts to suppress the freedom of expression.

The first clear warning of the new reality came in 1989 when the leader of the Iranian theocracy, Ayatollah Khomeiny, issued his infamous fatwa in the shape of a death sentence against the British-Indian author Salman Rushdie whose novel “The Satanic Verses” had enraged Islamic extremists all over the world. The fatwa was soon followed by an attempt against the life of Rushdie’s Norwegian publisher.

Following these events we have witnessed a number of violent acts aimed at critics of Islam and other people that have somehow incurred the wrath of religious rulers. Most of these acts of oppression have been directed at Muslims in an attempt to coerce them to submit to the cultural, ideological and political regimentation demanded by imams and Islamic organizations. One of the aims has been to demonstrate what may be in store for adherents of free thought and speech as well as for women who refuse to veil themselves and to accept male domination or who have become too Western in their thinking and way of life.

Many of these attacks against personal freedom and free speech pass unnoticed or are seen as facts of life that the Western countries must accept as a result of their transition to “multicultural” and “multiethnic” societies.

Other violations of our customary freedoms — primarily aimed at prominent non-Muslims — are harder to accept for the average Westerner. One particularly shocking incident was the murder of the Dutch politician and immigration critic Pim Fortuyn in May 2002. It was committed by a Dutch animal rights activist who claimed to be motivated by his concern for Muslims.

Equally alarming was the well planned and deliberately executed murder of the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in November 2004 followed by death threats against his collaborator, the liberal politician and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali and several other prominent Dutch politicians and Islam critics. In Denmark supporters of Islamic theocracy and sharia law have taken to violence in order to secure their monopoly on the interpretation of religion. A Jewish-Moroccan university teacher was attacked in open daylight in Copenhagen and severely beaten because he had dared to read from the Koran (which non-believers may neither read nor criticise).

Strangely enough, the ideological offensive that various Muslim organisations and religious leaders have conducted for several years against the Western way of life, thinking, democracy and freedom of expression has not been met by a counteroffensive aimed at protecting our traditional freedoms. Rather the opposite has happened as political parties, institutions of higher learning, the press, cultural institutions, international organisations and courts of law have tended to accommodate the growing Muslim presence in Europe and the West by accepting or even demanding encroachments on speech that is deemed offensive to the Islamic rulers.

People that have dared to discuss immigration or Islam’s growing influence have been systematically accused of “racism” and “xenophobia” and several attempts have been made to prosecute such critics be means of the police and the courts. The European Union and the Council of Europe have made diligent attempts to force the Danish government to intervene against dissidents harbouring politically incorrect views.

Prior to the establishment of The Free Press Society there was no Danish organisation who had the defence of free speech as its sole purpose. For this reason it was an absolute necessity to act.

Of course Islam is not the only threat against the freedom of expression but it is the most dangerous threat at the moment, and the Free Press Society

insists on calling a spade a spade. The most dangerous and immediate enemies of free speech must be clearly identified and opposed. If we shy away from this task, the defense of free speech will become meaningless.

Email: trykkefrihed@trykkefrihed.dk

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