26 November 2008

Resisting the censors

The right to free speech includes the right to argue and offend. You'd think this would be self-evident, yet it requires defending, here in Canada and internationally.

Professor Richard Moon, a constitutional expert, recently prepared a report for the Canadian Human Rights Commission about regulating hate speech on the Internet. Mr. Moon sensibly recommends the commission get out of the business of regulating what Canadians write and say.

"The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression -- that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent," writes Mr. Moon. [canada.com] Read more

25 November 2008

Global Blasphemy Law

Who else but Saudi Arabia? A country which is politely regarded as an “exceptional case” when it comes to abuses of religious freedom. A country which refuses to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the International Religious Freedom Act.

Saudi Arabia is a nation where public acts of faith by Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’i and the Ahmadiyya would be illegal and even private acts are constricted. Saudi authorities stamp out Islamic practices they consider are outside of an interpretation of Islam their clerics have deemed orthodox (Wahhabi). [Pickled Politics] Read more

20 November 2008

Don’t defend religion by silencing free speech

A draft resolution that was passed Monday by a committee of the United Nations General Assembly threatens to silence criticism of religion. The resolution, circulated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, representing more than 50 Muslim nations, is perversely being advanced under the guise of protecting human rights.

In its current form, the resolution would declare defamation of religion to be a violation of international law. The resolution’s drafters hope to circumvent national constitutional protections for freedom of speech, including the United States’ own First Amendment, by superseding international law. If the resolution is ultimately adopted, the effort to ban speech defamatory of religion will be a centerpiece of an upcoming U.N. conference against racism, the so-called Durban II meeting, to be held in Geneva next spring. [JTA] Read more