Europe's fight over free speech flares up again

Oct 4, 2012 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Westland Observer

The ongoing furor over a video and cartoons mocking the Muslim prophet Mohammed has reignited old dilemmas over free speech in Europe, with calls for stricter blasphemy laws, bans on protests and debates over how much free speech to allow ...

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“... truth will out.”

Since: May 08

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Oct 5, 2012
 

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from Westland Observer:

"... in Germany and Austria, the carrying of Nazi symbols like the swastika or the claims that the Nazis did not murder 6 million Jews is seen as a movement to bring back the death squads and concentration camps of World War II. Such expression can carry criminal penalties and in one case, British historian David Irving was sentenced in 2006 to three years in prison for Holocaust denial.

"'That was a huge mistake: there should be no taboos in the discussion of knowledge,' said Garton Ash of Irving's sentence.'The Austrian court, by imprisoning him, enabled him to pose as a martyr for free speech. It's a classic example of how counter-productive such laws can be.'

"He says the only solution is to counter offensive speech with 'more and better speech, which is the classic First Amendment and my personal position.'"

But as the story states, there is no First Amendment in Europe, and there's nothing even close to it in totalitarian Islamic states, so "more and better speech" isn't always an option.

And for the record, Irving should have just been fired: what kind of legit historian can deny history?
EdSed

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From Westland Observer:
Unlike the United States, free speech is limited in Europe with numerous statutes that ban hate speech, blasphemy, Holocaust denial and even phrases deemed insults to bureaucrats and police officers. Unquote.

For example?

The laws in the UK, for instance, are specifically to cover incitement. Obviously Europe (perhaps far more than the USA) are faced with communities with religious traditions that are highly fanatical and fundamentalist. It is sometimes necessary to restrict repeated statements that have already been reported in the press from causing loss of life or serious rioting. There is no example of which I am aware of where there has been serious repression of free speech using laws against incitement.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
from Westland Observer:
"... in Germany and Austria, the carrying of Nazi symbols like the swastika or the claims that the Nazis did not murder 6 million Jews is seen as a movement to bring back the death squads and concentration camps of World War II. Such expression can carry criminal penalties and in one case, British historian David Irving was sentenced in 2006 to three years in prison for Holocaust denial.
"'That was a huge mistake: there should be no taboos in the discussion of knowledge,' said Garton Ash of Irving's sentence.'The Austrian court, by imprisoning him, enabled him to pose as a martyr for free speech. It's a classic example of how counter-productive such laws can be.'
"He says the only solution is to counter offensive speech with 'more and better speech, which is the classic First Amendment and my personal position.'"
But as the story states, there is no First Amendment in Europe,
The implication being that free speech is better protected in the USA (and that is thanks to the First Amendment)? If so, I don't agree.

The determination to protect free speech is primarily determined by the mores of the society and not especially well protected in the USA when compared with many European countries. The First Amendment is simply one way amongst many to protect it and one that is obviously unsuited to societies who prefer no written constitution.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
..and there's nothing even close to it in totalitarian Islamic states, so "more and better speech" isn't always an option.
Controls on free speech aren't any excuse to counter fiction with imprisonment.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
And for the record, Irving should have just been fired: what kind of legit historian can deny history?
Have you actually read what Irving wrote? My understanding is that he questioned the basis of the statistics and doesn't think the killing of the Jews was especially worthy of the term 'genocide'. Such doubts are often perceived as crimes in Austria, given its history. The fact that most of us accept it was a genocide as per dictionary definitions is beside the point...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/genocidal

I would agree the main point is that imprisoning people for their honestly held views is normally counter-productive,(however incorrect the views may be or outrageous they may sound in news reports).
EdSed

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Westland Observ:-Russia, which recently jailed a rock band for singing a song against President Vladimir Putin, ordered the video The Innocence of Muslims banned. And Putin announced he is pushing for an anti-blasphemy law on "insulting religions and people's religious sentiment." Unquote.

Obviously Russia has far more serious problems compared to most European countries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journali...
Personally, I wouldn't include Russia as being 'in Europe' in this context.

“... truth will out.”

Since: May 08

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EdSed wrote:
The implication being that free speech is better protected in the USA (and that is thanks to the First Amendment)? If so, I don't agree.
The determination to protect free speech is primarily determined by the mores of the society and not especially well protected in the USA when compared with many European countries ...
Then how do you explain the following?
from the Westland Observer:

"But not all agree with this in Europe, which has a history of curtailing speech the government deems offensive or disruptive. Governments here do not have constitutions that enshrine the rights of individuals to express themselves, and are looking for ways to legally prevent their citizens from criticizing Islam however crudely.

"Russia, which recently jailed a rock band for singing a song against President Vladimir Putin, ordered the video The Innocence of Muslims banned ...

"The German government is considering whether to find a way to prevent a group from showing the video to the public. France has banned other mocking images of Mohammed and it continues to face protests over a French magazine publishing provocative cartoons of Mohammed."

And Greece already has anti-blasphemy laws.
EdSed

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Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
Then how do you explain the following?
from the Westland Observer:
"But not all agree with this in Europe, which has a history of curtailing speech the government deems offensive or disruptive. Governments here do not have constitutions that enshrine the rights of individuals to express themselves, and are looking for ways to legally prevent their citizens from criticizing Islam however crudely.
That "Europe (as opposed to the USA, for instance) has a history of curtailing speech the govt deems offensive or disruptive" is a claim they must substantiate, it isn't for me to explain. I was simply explaining that they seem to have misconstued what is happening, to some degree.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
"Russia, which recently jailed a rock band for singing a song against President Vladimir Putin, ordered the video The Innocence of Muslims banned ...
And I have already explained that, in this context, Russia probably shouldn't be seen as 'part of Europe'. And the it isn't especially the USA which condemns Russia for their persecution of Pussy Riot. Criticism is as strong or stronger across Europe.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
"The German government is considering whether to find a way to prevent a group from showing the video to the public. France has banned other mocking images of Mohammed and it continues to face protests over a French magazine publishing provocative cartoons of Mohammed."
As I have already indicated, the US and EU situations aren't always directly compatible and so the measures taken aren't always identical. What might seem like a limitation on freedom of expression in the USA may, taken properly in context, look like a sensible measure to contain those determined to incite violence in Europe.
Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
And Greece already has anti-blasphemy laws.
And England (not the UK) has an established church, unelected Bishops in the HofLords and (arguably) worse transgressions than Greece's blasphemy laws.

The USA has laws discriminating against atheists...
http://www.americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2...

And an ex-Pres who has appeared to be openly bigotted...
http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.h...

However, most USAmericans feel atheist rights are well-protected, that such anti-atheist laws aren't enforced and many often deny that there is any significant discrimination against atheists or gays.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/gero...
The arrest in Greece has highlighted how outdated blasphemy laws often are in Europe. They have only gone from the UK in recent decades, I believe.

One sometimes needs to look past the headlines to observe what is actually happening. Giorgos Loizos was apparently arrested, but has not been prosecuted yet, has he?

It is perhaps the religionists in government and authority who should be blamed for enforcement of anti-atheist laws or prejudices against atheism, not all and sundry.
John

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What this is all about is the unstable new establishment in the west created by the self appointed elites (the corporate thugs on the right and the commie thugs on the left) trying to silence the storm of criticism of its corruption and tyranny and its many pathetic failings and trying to prevent a re-establishment of genuine democracy and freedom in the western world.

“... truth will out.”

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EdSed wrote:
<quoted text>That "Europe (as opposed to the USA, for instance) has a history of curtailing speech the govt deems offensive or disruptive" is a claim they must substantiate, it isn't for me to explain ...
You can't explain your own English history, from Magna Carta to Cromwell?

And how is it that Russia -- at least West of the Urals -- isn't part of Europe?
EdSed

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Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
You can't explain your own English history, from Magna Carta to Cromwell?
Not in a Topix post. Are you certain your knowledge & understanding of English history is better than mine?
Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
And how is it that Russia -- at least West of the Urals -- isn't part of Europe?
That is literally true.

I said 'in this context', i.e. the article spoke as if it were part of the EU or similar to other EU countries. Relative to most EU countries (every last one, I think), Russia's repression of dissidents and journalists is seriously criminal..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Ale...
In that respect specifically, Russia is not part of Europe. It is not part of Europe politically, but quite distinct from EU and other European countries.

“... truth will out.”

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EdSed wrote:
<quoted text> Not in a Topix post ...
Well, I can easilly post that in the colonial case of Zenger, the jury agreed with his lawyer's argument that truth was a defense to libel.

Prior to that ruling, any disparaging of a royal administator was slanderous, and it was even worse if the accusations were true!

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EdSed wrote:
From Westland Observer:
Unlike the United States, free speech is limited in Europe with numerous statutes that ban hate speech, blasphemy, Holocaust denial and even phrases deemed insults to bureaucrats and police officers. Unquote.
For example?
The laws in the UK, for instance, are specifically to cover incitement. Obviously Europe (perhaps far more than the USA) are faced with communities with religious traditions that are highly fanatical and fundamentalist. It is sometimes necessary to restrict repeated statements that have already been reported in the press from causing loss of life or serious rioting. There is no example of which I am aware of where there has been serious repression of free speech using laws against incitement.
<quoted text>The implication being that free speech is better protected in the USA (and that is thanks to the First Amendment)? If so, I don't agree.
The determination to protect free speech is primarily determined by the mores of the society and not especially well protected in the USA when compared with many European countries. The First Amendment is simply one way amongst many to protect it and one that is obviously unsuited to societies who prefer no written constitution.
<quoted text> Controls on free speech aren't any excuse to counter fiction with imprisonment.
<quoted text>Have you actually read what Irving wrote? My understanding is that he questioned the basis of the statistics and doesn't think the killing of the Jews was especially worthy of the term 'genocide'. Such doubts are often perceived as crimes in Austria, given its history. The fact that most of us accept it was a genocide as per dictionary definitions is beside the point...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/genocidal
I would agree the main point is that imprisoning people for their honestly held views is normally counter-productive,(however incorrect the views may be or outrageous they may sound in news reports).
If the UK has laws against incitement, why are they allowing chaudry to continually incite violence against non muslims? Why hasn't his hate speech been silenced?
Social ponzi security

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Free speech not regulated? Even Founding father punish people who commit false testimony on the court. If you against any kind of regulation on free speech, then child pornography and false testimony on the court should be legal. The question is what kind of speech that should be protected? I believe the speech that should be protected are speech that promote public goods. Child pornography and false testimony is not serving public goods.
Social ponzi security

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Right of free speech should be view as same as right to bear arms. I mean that you are allow to bear arms, but you not allow to shoot people like nutjobs.
EdSed

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Ravenclaw wrote:
<quoted text>
If the UK has laws against incitement, why are they allowing chaudry to continually incite violence against non muslims? Why hasn't his hate speech been silenced?
What has he said that incited violence? As I said, anti-incitement laws aren't aimed at stopping free speech, but at incitement to violence.

Mr Choudary is openly against democracy. He's a great advert for all that is wrong with Islam-UK.

What instance would cause him to fall foul of anti-incitement laws?

When the authorities show restraint it is usually to a purpose. Better that people be allowed to say what they are actually thinking than trying to suppress it by force. If it is nonsense such as people calling for the death of British troops...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8453560.stm
even the mass of Muslims will see it. Repression is a last resort, not a first response.
EdSed

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Joe DeCaro wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, I can easilly post that in the colonial case of Zenger, the jury agreed with his lawyer's argument that truth was a defense to libel.
Prior to that ruling, any disparaging of a royal administator was slanderous, and it was even worse if the accusations were true!
18th Century.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Peter_Zenge...
Bully for you Joe.

“... truth will out.”

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Ravenclaw wrote:
<quoted text>
If the UK has laws against incitement, why are they allowing chaudry to continually incite violence against non muslims? Why hasn't his hate speech been silenced?
Could it be the same problem we have on this side of the pond? Selective outrage!

“... truth will out.”

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Social ponzi security wrote:
... I mean that you are allow to bear arms, but you not allow to shoot people like nutjobs.
Tom, you're the nutjob, and you're not fooling anyone.
Social ponzi security

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Joe DeCaro wrote:

Tom, you're the nutjob, and you're not fooling anyone.
Well ..... Do you mind if i take your money for my charity mission? There is sick person near me. And that sick person is good Christian!!! He go to church for everyday! He sew bible on his hand!! So .... can i take your money to help that guy?
Social ponzi security

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Not just that! He also burn abortion hospital to the ground. He also hate gay so much. He use all his live saving to disturb gay, Muslim and Rapper. He run out of money. And he is really sick ..... So, Joe de Commie ..... you also a good Christian .... can i use your money to help that guy?

Since: Aug 12

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Oct 6, 2012
 
Why did God have to create himself in order to sacrifice himself to himself to change a rule that he created himself and then raise himself from the dead to bring himself back to himself again to prove that he was himself to save humanity from himself?
Social ponzi security

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Joe De Commie always love everybody that don't like Jesus 'socialist' Nazareth. Jesus is good looking, but however what i don't like about Jesus is about his socialist stand.

I don't believe the existence of good kind Robin Hood. The idea of asking government to give hand out to persecuted Christian. It just like take money from diligent people and gave it up to idiots.

It is conservative position.

I believe the free market survival of the fittest. The idea of helping persecuted Christian are same as bad as give money to AIG. Why not let the invisible hand decide.

It is conservative position.

If you see my name ...... Social ponzi security. Is person who see all kind of social program (food stamp, veteran benefit, medicare, social security) as ponzi scheme. Is not conservative?

True conservative will against any handout for idiot for any kind of reason. If it's to let American lazy old sick people to die on street, why is not ok to let the persecuted Christian to be dead.

Let the people to have their fruit of labor. Extreme consent agreement should be respected. Is the 2 highest moral standard.

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