Sunday, January 18, 2015

Globe and Mail Columnist: Self Censorship Is Just Slow Suicide for the News Business

I agree with much of this column. 

"Personally, as an atheist, I’m irritated by a lot of what goes on in the world, but I deal with it like a rational person, by muttering to myself on the bus. The opinion piece by radical cleric Anjem Choudary supporting the Charlie Hebdo killers was revolting, but I’m glad USA Today ran it – it doesn’t help to pretend these ideas aren’t out there, and I’d rather see them in the light of day. Similarly, while I think the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has proved himself a vile anti-Semite, and his public declaration of fellow-feeling for the kosher supermarket killer was stupid and insensitive, I don’t think he (or anyone else) should be arrested for a Facebook post."

"Yet there will be more. In the days after the attacks, France made 54 terror-related arrests, and 37 of them involved something called “condoning terrorism.” What does that mean? After the mass rally in Paris, 12 interior ministers of European countries issued a joint statement, which contained buried in it an ominous declaration of a crackdown on speech that incited extremism."

"Again, what kind of speech is that? Who gets to decide what the limits of expression are? At the moment, it’s the state, with its formal power, and religion, with its historical legacy of compelling obedience. You could consider that offensive."

Indeed you should.