‘Abduction of Europa’ (Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Amsterdam - 1632 - fragment)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Legal comments on Charlie Hebdo - 7 January 2015 - Freedom of Speech

حرية التعبيرحرية التعبير

"We are in awe at the courage of the French cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, we look forward to the next issue, and admire the society and environment that promotes this level of free speech. They are our heroes."  Cartoonists Rights Network International
  • "In the wake of the appalling attacks in Paris two days ago, it only took 24 hours for the EU Commission to state that it would propose a new wave of EU anti-terrorist measures in a month’s time. It’s not yet known what the content of this law will be; but the very idea of new legislation is a profound mistake." Does the EU need more anti-terrorist legislation? (EU Law Analysis)
  • On voit ainsi apparaître un retour du blasphème, au nom du droit au respect des différentes communautés religieuses. Au moment où la France donne, pour une fois, l'image d'une communauté rassemblée autour de valeurs communes qui sont celles de la République, il convient de se méfier de certains apprentis-sorciers. Derrière un discours en apparence libérale prônant le respect de la liberté religieuse, se cache la recherche d'une segmentation communautaire de la société. Derrière ce respect affiché des communautés religieuses se cache finalement le refus de tout discours déviant ou simplement ironique. L'équipe de Charlie l'avait bien compris, et elle prônait, par son insolence même, le droit au blasphème. Le droit au blasphème (Roseline Letteron   
  • Some will say that the refusal to print images of Mohammed is justified by a general enthusiasm to ridicule terrorists. But when it comes to Islamist terrorism, the two are intrinsically linked. It is impossible properly to satirise these terrorists without getting to the heart of their motivation, which is Islam – or at least, their violent version of it. It is like lampooning Hitler whilst avoiding talking about Naziism. The UK supposedly has a bold and fearless press. At least, that is the narrative we are sold… by the press. But where was that fearlessness today? Effective political satire is always dangerous, not necessarily physically but it inevitably it will be risky to the publisher. And the more effective it is, the greater danger it will cause. It seems that in the UK the press has lost its nerve. I am not here blaming the press for the massacre. That is the fault of the men who fired the guns. But this is as good at time as any to ask if our fear of causing offence is doing us damage. Today, we are not “all Charlie Hebdo“, to paraphrase the Twitter hashtag. What we are is afraid. We are not all Charlie Hebdo, but we are all afraid (Adam Wagner)
  • "Europe has a choice. We can lick our wounds and sit in shock or we can take action or we can take up the standard and stand boldly against those who would threaten our hard-earned freedoms. These are the days after Charlie Hebdo, we can choose to show the best of who we are or the worst. I choose the best." The Days after Charlie Hebdo (BlogActive) 
  • "Whilst international organisations and their bodies (barring the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNESCO and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression) view the attack as an act of terrorism, States (though this might be due do lack of access to official statements in English) are more reluctant to use this terminology and there is no reference to it in any NGOs statements or press releases. In other words, the condemnation of the attack on Charlie Hebdo was indeed unanimous; yet, the reasons for condemning it are different." Euro Rights Blog: Attack on Charlie Hebdo: An Attack on What? (Eurorights) 
  • "Edgar Morin l’écrit très bien dans le Monde de ce jour : « la pensée réductrice triomphe. Non seulement les fanatiques meurtriers croient combattre les croisés et leurs alliés les juifs (que les croisés massacraient), mais les islamophobes réduisent l’arabe à sa supposée croyance, l’islam, réduisent l’islamique en islamiste, l’islamiste en intégriste, l’intégriste en terroriste ». Lutter contre cette réduction demande donc de changer de logiciel. N’est pas Saint Just qui veut pour réclamer « pas de liberté pour les ennemis de la liberté » mais là est bien l’interrogation qui va dominer le débat politique dans les jours qui viennent." Terrorisme : le jour d’après (ELSJ) 
  • "To adapt Orwell: extremism is only possible in countries where the people dare not laugh at extremism." Je suis Charlie: Orwell on the fear that extremists have of being laughed at (Jack of Kent) 
  • "Following the murder at Charlie Hebdo, the debate on where freedom of expression should be limited will no doubt intensify but nothing - including any religion - must be allowed to become totally protected against the well reasoned and perhaps outspoken criticism of sensible people and, as Alan Dershowitz stated: "Being offended by freedom of speech should never be regarded as a justification for violence." Charlie Hebdo - Freedom of Expression (ObiterJ) 
  • "As the world proclaims “Je Suis Charlie”; it says loudly that fear won’t override our most precious of constitutional protections.   This week, MPs and Peers from all parties lifted their pens aloft in Westminster Hall. They too were Charlie. A better, more lasting symbol of support and defiance would be a full and proper debate before we further erode our commitment to the rule of law and the protection of individual rights in the interest of security.   As Peers prepare to debate, may they meet fear and threat with vigilance and defiance, strong in their commitment to the constitutional standards we hold dear." A worrying new anti-terror law is sneaking through Parliament (UK Human Rights Blog) 
  • "Ook bij ons brengt deze daad een heftige emotie teweeg. Maar vanuit die emotie reageren is ongepast. Pas op het moment dat meer informatie bekend is, kunnen we een zinvolle discussie voeren over de noodzaak van bevoegdheden van geheime diensten en politie. Tegen die tijd doen we dat graag en zullen we jullie daarvoor ook om input vragen." Vrijheid - Verdedig je die met meer of minder privacy? (Bits of Freedom)

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