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Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide: Freedom of Speech vs Censorship

Research strategies and resources on media, popular culture, journalism, copyright, digital society, and related topics.

Freedom of Speech vs Censorship

What's Here

The ability to freely express one's knowledge, interpretations and opinions is a human right under the United Nations's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is protected by many national and international laws. Nevertheless governments, corporations, unofficial groups and powerful individuals sometime impose explicit or implicit forms of censorship, or create conditions in which people perform self-censorship for their own safety and well-being. This page will help you find resources on these complex and urgent subjects.

Selected Subject Headings for Searching Orbis

NOTE: Many resources on freedom of speech and censorship will be found at the Law Library

Selected Resources on Freedom of Speech vs Censorship

American Civil Liberties Union

The foremost US organization concerned with privacy, freedom of the press, freedom of information, and other rights.

Catalog of Banned Books (to 1955)

An online exhibit at the University of Kansas, presenting KU librarian Robert Vosper's exhibit and catalog on censorship, created in the face of McCarthy-era attacks on free speech.


SML, Reference Z658 U5 C45

"The news that didn't make the news--and why" or "The top 25 censored stories."

Electronic Frontier Foundation

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation was created to defend our rights to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using new technologies, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web."

The encyclopedia of censorship. Jonathon Green and Nicholas J. Karolides. New York: Facts On File, 2005.

SML Reference, Z657 .G73 2005

Encyclopedia of the First Amendment. Edited by John R. Vile et al. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, c2009.

SML Reference, KF4770 .E53X 2009 (LC) Oversize

IFEX (International Freedom of Expression eXchange network)

"IFEX runs the world’s most comprehensive free expression information service through its daily Alerts, weekly IFEX Communiqué newsletter, free expression headlines Digest and website."

Intellectual freedom manual. Compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. 7th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2006.

SML Reference, Z711.4 I57X 2006 (LC)

Literature suppressed on political grounds. Nicholas J. Karolides. New York, NY: Facts On File, Inc., c2011

Literature suppressed on religious grounds. Margaret Bald. New York: Facts On File, c2011.

National Coalition Against Censorship

"NCAC is an alliance of 50 national non-profit organizations that promotes and defends First Amendment values of freedom of thought, inquiry and expression, opposes restraints on open communication, and supports access to information."

Office for Intellectual Freedom -- American Library Association

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights. The site includes information on banned and burned books, and various advocacy committees of the ALA.

Press and speech freedoms in the world, from antiquity until 1998: a chronology. Compiled by Louis Edward Ingelhart. Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press, 1998.

SML, Reference Z657 I525X 1998

Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics

Todd Gilman's picture
Todd Gilman
Sterling Memorial Library

130 Wall Street

PO Box 208240

New Haven, CT 06520-8240

(203)-432-1761 (office phone)