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Intellectual Freedom: Guide Home


Intellectual freedom is an individual’s right to hold, receive, and disseminate ideas from all points of view without restrictions. It is the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Free access to all sides of an idea, question, or movement may be explored under intellectual freedom because everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Librarianship views intellectual freedom as a core responsibility and those in the profession are expected to adhere to such principles and allow uninhibited access to information.   

Intellectual freedom opposes censorship of materials and upholds the belief that everyone deserves the right to access information, as it is a basic right in our society. It also encompasses freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of press, and the right to privacy. The United Nations upholds intellectual freedom as a basic human right through Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

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How does fake news relation to intellectual freedom? Fake news can be comprised of propaganda, clickbait, satire, honest error, partisan ideals, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and so much more. It can be misleading and have doctored content that can have a serious impact on someone searching for information. Some fake news might have information purposefully omitted to push a certain view or idea, which means there might be a lot of bias in fake news. This is important when relating to intellectual freedom because it means that, since we all have the right to access any information, some of the information we are accessing might not be correct or might be doctored in a way to influence seekers to a particular view. Intellectual freedom also guarantees the right to read the truth, or read what you choose to believe. 

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Lauren Kent
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