What is intellectual freedom?

Intellectual freedom is the right to access and share information, to intellectual activity and creativity, to expression and debate. 

A fair and prosperous democratic society is built upon access to information and ideas, the ability to develop knowledge and communicate with others.


Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous.
Definition of censorship from the American Library Association

When a library and information service is funded by the public it should provide access to all publically available information as far as resources allow.

Access should not be restricted on any grounds but the law and the legal basis of any restriction should always be stated. Library and information professionals should have full control over collection development, management and access within broad policies set by their organisation.

Freedom of information

CILIP believes that all publicly funded information, including Government data and publicly funded research, should be accessible to the public unless there is good reason otherwise. A good reason would include the excluded categories listed in the Freedom of Information Act (2000). The default position for information generated in Government must be that it should be made publically available.

Within a knowledge economy information assets are business critical to many businesses and other independently funded organisations. These assets provide competitive advantage, contribute to profit and help them meet their objectives. Access may be restricted on grounds such as commercial interest. Such organisations should manage their information within an appropriate regulatory and ethical framework.