Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Ireland repeals Freedom of speech

In a move that is more medieval than post modern the Irish parliament have just passed legislation creating a new crime of blasphemous libel. It can variously been seen as a modernisation of existing blasphemy laws (cutting the maximum fine from €100 000 to €25 000), a tool against 'religionism', or a pointless and dangerous infringement of free speech.

You can apparently be convicted if you cause “outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.” ... which is an interesing sort of definition. The whole point with freedom of speech is that you can say things that are unpopular and have the protection of the law.

Normally to prove libel you show that the (defamatory) statements made are purported facts that are untrue - that people don't like what you said doesn't in an way enter enter it. Thus, this new legislation strikes clearly aganst EU citizens rights of expression.

Atheist Ireland is actively opposing the legislation which, at an AI meeting Professor Richard Dawkins called "a wretched, backward, uncivilised regression to the middle ages".

If you want to imagine the scope of this legislation to infringe on free speech consider this example that 'outraged a substantial number of people' in Alabama...

Atheist Ireland also provide 'Count me Out' - a site for people wishing to officially leave the Catholic church... if that's not a blasphemous suggestion?

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