Why are you the target of ‘no platform’ campaigns?


The IEA’s views often conflict with popular or mainstream opinion. These views can be particularly unpopular with those who hold views opposed to free markets and individual liberty. The IEA is also renowned for the quality of our communications, or rather our ability to explain difficult or challenging ideas well, which tends to make us a high-profile target for these groups.

No platforming is the process by which some activist groups attempt to delegitimise people, ideas, and thoughts of which they do not approve, such that they are hidden from view. It is the opposite approach to that encouraged by civil libertarians who tend to believe in competition or the ‘battle of ideas’ as the best of way of encouraging better thinking and thus informed outcomes.

These campaigns can involve lobbying media companies to deny us freedom of expression, pejorative labels, smearing our motives, impugning the integrity of those who work for us, or our donors and repeating false allegations about all of the above as though facts.

The Who Funds You campaign has been used in this way. There is a serious and genuine debate in the think tank sector about where the line lies on funding transparency. No one believes in either full disclosure, or absolute opacity, there are however a range of views in between. Some, for example, believe think tanks should be regulated like campaigners during elections, some believe the current balance, where we are treated like university departments or private colleges is about right.

Sadly, the expression ‘who funds you’ is almost never deployed by people wishing to debate these issues, but as an attempt to delegitimise the other ideas being debated such as whether people should be free to eat crisps on the Underground. It should not surprise anyone that liberals and libertarians tend to think that they should, regardless as to whether they work for, or are funded by, a salted potato snack manufacturer.


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