Author Topic: The End of Free Speech  (Read 594 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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The End of Free Speech
« on: September 30, 2012, 02:20:50 PM »
UK signs agreement on “religious freedom” with OIC

http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/09/uk-signs-agreement-on-religious-freedom-with-oic

Quote
Concerns have been raised by the National Secular Society that the UK's stance on free speech could be compromised by an agreement signed at the United Nations between this country and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – the new "Minister for Faith" - and pledges that the UK and the OIC will "work together on issues of peace, stability and religious freedom."

At present, the OIC is agitating at the United Nations for a global blasphemy law that would make criticising or satirising religion a punishable offence.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "We are all for co-operation between nations to try to foster peace and understanding, but the concept of 'religious freedom' is one that the OIC has distorted to mean restrictions on free expression. We hope that by signing this document the UK will not in any way compromise its commitment to human rights – particularly the human right to free speech. The British Government has been steadfast in its opposition to the OIC's blasphemy proposals up until now. We hope that this document will not change that in any way."

...
Terry Sanderson commented: "There is certainly a need for some kind of inter-religious understanding among OIC member states, a number of which suppress Christianity and other religions in a brutal and merciless fashion.

"The blasphemy law which is being proposed by the OIC on behalf of its members would be an entirely dangerous and regressive step if it were to be approved at the UN. It is quite clear that it would be used to persecute and oppress non-Muslim minorities in Muslim-majority countries, as the domestic blasphemy law in Pakistan does at present. Mr Sanderson continued: "In Egypt the blasphemy laws are also used to get rid of political opponents and are sometimes used as a means of revenge by neighbours or colleagues who are in dispute. We do not need this kind of primitive legislation in our democracies and we need reassurance from our Government that their resolve remains unaffected by the signing of this agreement with the OIC."
Organisation of Islamic CooperationWiki
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 02:24:49 PM by Graybeard »
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Offline Strawman

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 05:05:01 PM »
Our government are such cowards. Thanks for posting Graybeard.
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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 05:29:00 PM »
I thought perhaps the article was from The Onion, but I see it is real. I guess it’s no surprise that a Muslim Minister for Self-Deception Faith would sign an agreement with the OIC. I imagine Pat Condell will have something to say about this.

Offline natlegend

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 03:10:07 AM »
Oh no. No no no. A whole internet's worth of noes.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 04:13:33 AM »
I am ashamed of my own country's government. Why am I not surprised to see Baroness Warsi's face when I click on the link? I've met the woman before and well...I'm sorry for not slapping some sense into her. Please forgive me.

Also, isn't this the sort of thing conservatives in the US would accuse liberals of doing? However, Baroness Warsi is a conservative, so hopefully that should confuse the crap out them. However, I am wondering what the liberals are actually doing about this, they're in the coalition, surely Nick Clegg can grow a spine and stand up for free expression?

This is a move where labour can win back supporters in the next election. They were in power when the Religious Hatred Act was passed, which included a clause on freedom of expression that basically covers the bases. The original bill caused a lot of controversy, but when it was passed it had that part on freedom of expression. Labour could totally take that and bring people to their side. f**k me, I don't want another labour government, they're f**k ups who were led by a war criminal. Heck, I ain't exactly happy with conservatives or the liberal democrats either. I'm gonna be totally boned in the next election.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 04:47:29 AM by Seppuku »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 05:45:59 AM »
At least the USA can be counted on to veto any such global blasphemy law.  Even the right-wing tea party nuts aren't dumb enough to repeal the First Amendment in order to forbid "blasphemy".  I hope.

That reminds me.  Doesn't Britain have some kind of legal tradition about the freedom of speech?  If so, then such an agreement would contradict that and might very well be illegal.  However, my knowledge of British law is pretty scanty.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 09:38:25 AM »
We do have laws about freedom of expression and our laws generally do accommodate:

For example, our Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 states:

Quote from: Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
29J
Protection of freedom of expression
Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

In essence, we're allowed to freely express ourselves on the topic of religion, according to THIS law.

Then there's Blasphemy and Blasphemous Libel Law, which is specific to the Church of England, which is a much older law. From what I understand it has been a long time since anybody's actually been charged with an offense with this. To my mind, they should get rid of it as it's an archaic law and contradicts the above Act. People did try to get the BBC charged with it a few years back for showing Jerry Springer: The Opera because to their mind his mockery of Jesus falls under Blasphemous Libel, but they were unsuccessful.

Allowing Islam to restrict our laws to do with freedom of expression would be in contradiction to the Racial and Religious Hatred Act. Unfortunately, anomalies do happen in law, I am not sure exactly how a court deals with it, I suspect it might come down to the latest passed law, but I am not a lawyer, so don't take my word for it.

As far as constitutions go, they only work so long as people are willing to stick to them and I don't think the US government abides as closely to the consitition as people like to think, but if they use the right language they can surpass it. But our consititution is much, much older, the Magna Carta, which really does not apply to modern society, for example I believe it has us ruled by a monarch and that to be King or Queen is a God-given right. Whilst we do still have a monarch, it makes no account for Parliament, because that came at a later date. Oliver Cromwell, who won the civil war against the monarchy hated the Magna Carta (apparently he referred to it as the Magna Farta) and well, as you can tell he didn't like the monarchy either. You can suggest he's the reason we live by a democratic rule now. We certainly don't listen to the Magna Carta as much as we used to as much of the power goes to our democratic leaders and not queeny. Whilst queeny does have power, she tends not to exercise it either.

But what'll happen is somebody will get in trouble for making a joke about Mohammad and people will kick up a shitstorm about freedom of expression pushing the government to change their stance[1]. There was one when the original Racial and Religious Hatred Bill was proposed and it added a clause for 'freedom of expression'[2]. There was another when the Digital Economy Bill came out and it pushed the politicians to make revisions. I don't know what the final ones were, but funnily enough I did ask Baroness Warsi about it and made specific concerns about internet privacy, but she didn't know a lot about it and put it to her assistant to send me info on what their party was doing about it via email. The response sounded kind of positive on that front, but that's a different topic. ;)
 1. If my optimism is well placed that is.
 2. A group called Pen kicked up a fuss, heck they released this collection of essays as part of their response. It's a really interesting read, with entries from Salman Rushdie, Rowan Atkinson, Philip Pullman and more
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 10:47:45 AM by Seppuku »
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 11:49:10 AM »
Then there's Blasphemy and Blasphemous Libel Law, which is specific to the Church of England, which is a much older law. From what I understand it has been a long time since anybody's actually been charged with an offense with this. To my mind, they should get rid of it as it's an archaic law and contradicts the above Act.
I had a word with Her Majesty, She was muchy taken with your argument and avatar. Not only has She abolished them, she has back-dated the abolition and done a Wiki Entry
Quote
The common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. See the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Seppuku

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 12:07:56 PM »
Ah, I was unaware they were abolished, but I am glad to hear it, thank you.
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline jetson

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Re: The End of Free Speech
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 06:41:16 PM »
Damn.  Where's Frank when we get to gloat!  Kidding...

But yeah, I cannot imagine such cowardice from an advanced government such as the UK.