The issue of free speech is somewhat complicated with attacks on free speech coming from various sources, however the often-criticised university campuses are showing signs of improving, while other issues are not. In the United States 37 universities have no speech codes up from 8 in 2009, likewise 27 schools or faculty bodies have embraced free speech principles, and dis-invitation of controversial speakers on campus have similarly dropped in recent years from a peak in 2016. However, despite posing as the custodians of free speech, right-wing lawmakers have the real problem here, showing openness to use positions of state power to quash freedom of expression, whether that is a take a knee protest or publishing state secrets in the public interest.
This larger issue of censorship represents the biggest attack on freedom of the press in a generation, the persecution and punishment of Julian Assange being clearly unconstitutional but actively being carried out under the administration of a right-wing populist. Meanwhile, the matter is being convoluted by the much louder and more heavily covered story of wealthy celebrities being held to account by ordinary people online for their prejudice opinions, an issue being actively conflated with universities by anti-PC pundits and grifters eager to skew the picture. The right has generated a culture-war straw-man over the issue of free speech in academia, in order to avoid talking about policy issues and to groom a new generation of status-quo-defending conservative thinkers.