Free Speech Week (FSW) is the country’s premier event celebrating free speech and a free press.
The goal of FSW (formerly National Freedom of Speech Week) is to raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in our democracy – and to celebrate that freedom. FSW is observed during the third full week of October annually. The next Free Speech Week will take place Oct. 21-27, 2013.
Free Speech Week was created in 2005 by The Media Institute and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. Now an independent event, The Media Institute continues to promote FSW and manage the website. An FSW Advisory Council headed by Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman was created in 2012 to increase the reach and impact of Free Speech Week.
There is no other celebration like Free Speech Week. At a time when many other causes are recognized with special weeks or even months, this is the first annual “week” in more than 200 years that recognizes this fundamental freedom.
Free Speech Week is not a political event or ideological platform. In fact, FSW is designed as a unifying celebration, elevating the vision of the Founding Fathers above the political fray and recognizing free speech as something we can all believe in and cherish.
Free Speech Week depends on the participation of many “Partnering Organizations,” which share this belief in freedom of speech and spread that message to their members and audiences. They do this in a wide variety of ways that include articles, seminars, contests, and public service announcements.
Partnering Organizations include media companies, media trade associations, journalism societies, and non-media organizations. A special category of Educational Partners includes university law schools, departments of communication, and student groups – some of the most active participants in Free Speech Week. Organizations of all types, as well as individuals, are encouraged to participate.
The FSW website, freespeechweek.org, offers ideas on how to celebrate free speech. Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to take advantage of these resources and to join in celebrating free speech as “the sound of liberty.”