Virtual Town Hall | Steward McDonald MP on the threat of authoritarianism to freedom of expression
15 DEC 2020
A word on our virtual town hall from NOW!'s co-executive director, Andrea, and campaign manager, Laura.
Last week, we held a virtual town hall with Stewart McDonald, a prominent Scottish politician, member of the Foreign Affair Committee and SNP's spokesperson on Defence, on the threat that authoritarianism can pose to freedom of expression like in the case of Hong Kong.
If you have missed the event, you can rewatch it here!
We discussed the ways in which China, as it intensifies its crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and other authoritarian regimes are increasing their control over their people. As this continues to happen in many countries, freedom of speech is starting to be threatened also in democracies around the world. During the event, we talked about how, from Australia to Scotland, some of the most renowned cases of censorship have taken place in higher education, where Confucius Institutes have created controversies with Chinese and non-Chinese students critical of the Communist regime.
It was really interesting to also broaden our discussion with our participants on the importance of creating a League of Democracies - the aim of our Wave of Freedom campaign - and how the United Nations would have to undergo a great process of change in order to ensure that democracy is put at the centre and those authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China do not have a seat at the table.
As Stewart said, the threat that authoritarian regimes are posing not only on their citizens but on the wider world is too big for us not to act. Join us on our campaign on democracy and let's push for the creation of a coalition of democracies to protect freedom fighters everywhere.