Joe Blough

Slicing Through The Euro-Knot: Free Speech in the Birthplace of Democracy, Nazism & Communism

Posted on August 13 2010 1:00 pm

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Slicing Through the Dangerous Mess

Europe. That topsy turvy land where you can die for women’s rights, and yet be publicly damned ❖ Where EU democracy means repeating elections until politicians approve the vote ❖ Where “anti-facists” are gangs of black-clad thugs, who attack pro-freedom writers and publishers ❖ Where laws devised to stamp out Nazi propaganda are used for Nazi goals ❖ Where denying the Holocaust is a crime, yet promoting a new Holocaust is protected ❖ It is a puzzle, a confusion, a dangerous mess. But hands are reaching for the one blade sharp enough to cut through the strangling, mind-numbing knot.

The Copenhagen Post informs us that:

Justice Minister Lars Barfoed is preparing the ground for changes to laws criminalising racist and blasphemous speech on concerns they could be misused as political instruments to restrict free speech.

Barfoed, a Conservative, said he is opening up the laws to discussion, as he felt that to a certain degree it could be argued that they limit freedom of speech. He also said a discussion of their wording could be relevant as there is a risk that they could be used as political instruments to contain and restrict people’s opinions.

The laws cover insulting, threatening or degrading comments on race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin, as well as faith and sexual orientation.

Barfoed’s announcement comes a day after the chairman of the Freedom of Speech Society, Lars Hedegaard, was charged under the law for saying that rape was common in Muslim families.

Changes to the law will be discussed at a Conservative party meeting before the beginning of the new parliamentary year in October. Any changes made, though, must still comply with the European Human Rights Convention and other agreements the country has agreed to live up to.

I expect that the primary law being referred to is Article 266b of the Danish Criminal Code, which states that:

(1) Any person who publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years. — Emphasis mine.

This is from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark: Fact Sheet On Democracy And Freedom Of Expression In Denmark.

Do I actually need to argue the point that, as written, the law would probably prohibit criticism of the mounted Mongol hordes as they rampaged, pillaged and raped their way across the globe — criticism based on the fact that the Mongol hordes were rampaging, pillaging and raping — on the grounds that imparting information about Mongols rampaging, pillaging and raping is degrading to Mongols as a group? And let me preemptively apologize to anybody who feels I owe them an apology on the basis of that statement — except for Danish lawmakers.

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