Caricatures AGAIN Was it really free speech?

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  • Thread starter Shahil
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  • #1
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Hi!

Firstly, @Moonbear...hope this thread is okay. U did lock the last one but this interesting peice of news just popped up throwing a bit of a spanner in the works when it comes to free speech and what and what is not suppose to be allowed. I don't mind you closing this if it is a problem...

http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1703500,00.html

It appears that the Danish paper that published the 'toons first turned down cartoons depicting Jesus...

Uh...:confused: According to the article, the Mohammed cartoons were commisionned but the Jesus cartoons weren't hence they were not published. But...they both had religious figures depicted. Hence, if you are to publish one, u should publish the other as well.

I know sumthing just ain't rite here but...
 

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  • #2
Pengwuino
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Well, it is generally accepted that freedom of speech means that the government will not censor you. If a newspaper decided not to print something vs. deciding to print something else, it is not a freedom of speech issue because the newspaper's rights trump the publishers rights. One cannot force a newspaper to publish something especially since there are economic impacts to be considered for the newspaper.
 
  • #3
Pengwuino said:
especially since there are economic impacts to be considered for the newspaper.
Hahahaha! Or the entire country!
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
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TheStatutoryApe said:
Hahahaha! Or the entire country!

haah i didn't mean it in that way but yah, gotta watch out for when what you publish might just bring down entire national economies :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #5
vanesch
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Shahil said:
According to the article, the Mohammed cartoons were commisionned but the Jesus cartoons weren't hence they were not published. But...they both had religious figures depicted. Hence, if you are to publish one, u should publish the other as well.

There's no *obligation* of speaking, in free speech. You are free to say what you want, and don't say what you don't want to say. As such, you have the liberty of biasing what you say, in order to push your agenda.
"Freedom of speech" is not the same as swearing that you will "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", but it means exactly what the word says: you are free to talk, or not, and to say what you want.
On the other hand, as all free acts, free speech engages the responsability of the speaker.

So if what you post is true (that they denied the publication of the Jesus pictures) well that's then just an indication that they are biased in their publication, and that they have a certain agenda. But that's not forbidden. For instance, a democrat newspaper in the US might publish cartoons of Bush, but refuse to publish cartoons of Clinton. It's their good right. As such, they expose themselves of course as being partisan, but that's not illegal.
 
  • #6
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Jesus has been drawn ever so often, and not always in a way that Christians find humors. There is, however a general tendency for such drawings being posted at the backside of the newspapers – a page that is supposed to more lighthearted and not so serious. That is different from the Muhammad drawings.
The newspapers cultural editor have apparently said to CNN that it would post anti-Semitic and drawings of the holocaust after Iran made a contest of such drawings. The chief editor later said there was to be no such drawings.
I am sure if you ask Christians here in Denmark they can name many cartoons that they found offensive. I cannot :-)

There has also been an incident where a Danish supermarket sold sandals with Jesus on (a portrait of Jesus on the part of the sandal where you put your feet), and that were pulled back because of (some) Christians criticizing them. I say some because at the time I dated a somewhat conservative Catholic woman and she would have loved to have such shoes.
 
  • #7
BobG
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In the case of newspapers, whether they are offensive cartoons about Muslims for the sole purpose of proving they are not intimidated, cartoons debasing Jews, Christians, blacks, or some other race, publishing them categorizes the newspaper as a trash publication and the issue should probably be left there. Serious publications, such as the Washington Post, Time Magazine, or even the local newspapers, tend to avoid those types of cartoons or articles.

Other exercises of free speech are a little more iffy.

In the 90's, Fred Phelps' fundamentalist church used to travel around the country staging protests at the funerals of AIDS victims with protestors holding signs such as "God hates fags". Evidently, that doesn't get them quite enough publicity. Now they stage protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq holding signs such as "Thank God for IEDs". They also protested at a memorial for the Sago miners. Their point, apparently, is that the soldiers' and miners' deaths are God's punishment for the nation tolerating gays. Now, several states are passing bills restricting protests at funerals, in spite of the likelihood of the bills being struck down as unconstitutional.(Funeral bills are passed; http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=16419 [Broken]) By the way, even the US isn't able to avoid some violent reactions to "free speech" - His church was bombed and now he protests funerals of the war dead

Protests at abortion clinics have drawn the same controversies - at what point does "freedom of speech" cross the line and become harrassment?
 
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  • #8
Amp1
I read an article like that Triss; an Iranian paper is having a competition for cartoons depiing Jesus or the holocaust in the same vein as the Mohammud cartoon.
 
  • #9
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Shahil said:
Hence, if you are to publish one, u should publish the other as well.
Not if you want your message(s) to be consistent. Using this reasoning one might say: someone who shows something in favour of Islam should show something against it as well. It makes little sense.
 
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  • #10
russ_watters
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Amp1 said:
I read an article like that Triss; an Iranian paper is having a competition for cartoons depiing Jesus or the holocaust in the same vein as the Mohammud cartoon.
I read that too. And the stated point was to see if we react in the same way they do, in order to show that we hold a double-standard. They are calling our bluff and they don't have a clue that we hold all the cards! :rofl:
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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Maye this should be a topic for another thread, but I was wondering if people advocating the banning of such cartoons could explain how such a ban would legally/philosophically fit with freedom of speech.
 
  • #12
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russ_watters said:
Maye this should be a topic for another thread, but I was wondering if people advocating the banning of such cartoons could explain how such a ban would legally/philosophically fit with freedom of speech.

I think that is a good question. Everybody can think what they will about the drawings, but an actual ban is not possible (constitutional rights). They can however be deemed illegal by a court. The reasoning why this current case have not been accepted for such a trial is properly tradition and is accounted for at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons#Danish_journalistic_tradition -- our so called blasphemy paragraph have not been enforced since 1938 (!) and last tested in 1992. OK, this was not an answer to the question, but then again I am not the one that should answer it.
 
  • #13
Astronuc
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russ_watters said:
Maye this should be a topic for another thread, but I was wondering if people advocating the banning of such cartoons could explain how such a ban would legally/philosophically fit with freedom of speech.
Or freedom of the press, as the case may be. Freedom of the press simply means one is free to publish one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punishment by other members of society or the government, just as with free speech, where one is free to express verbally (usually in a public forum), one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punitive repercussions.

Freedom of the press has been extended to allow media companies to publish just about anything, or so it seems, whether it is factual or not. :grumpy:

Libel (written) and slander (verbal) are not protected by freedom of press or speech.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Interesting - the link says that prosecutors determined the cartoons would not have violated the blasphemy clause anyway, but it is interesting that such a clause exists in Denmark. In the US, nothing is sacred (pun intended).
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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Astronuc said:
Or freedom of the press, as the case may be. Freedom of the press simply means one is free to publish one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punishment by other members of society or the government, just as with free speech, where one is free to express verbally (usually in a public forum), one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punitive repercussions.
Yes, I see freedom of speech and the press as just different manifestations of the same thing. It is practically redundant.
Freedom of the press has been extended to allow media companies to publish just about anything, or so it seems, whether it is factual or not. :grumpy:
I don't think that's an extension of the freedom either philosophically or practically. Tabloids have been around as long as regular newspapers.
Libel (written) and slander (verbal) are not protected by freedom of press or speech.
Yes, and it is important to define what those are: they are speech that inflicts damage to a person's reputation. I suppose one could argue that since Mohammad was a real person, the cartoons constitute libel, but when the victim has been dead for a milenia, it is tough to show real harm.
 
  • #16
Art
russ_watters said:
I suppose one could argue that since Mohammad was a real person, the cartoons constitute libel, but when the victim has been dead for a milenia, it is tough to show real harm.
Legally you can't libel the dead. Even if a case is in progress if the complainant dies the case dies too.
 
  • #17
Art
Here's the latest on the newspaper that started the furore;
Cartoons editor sent on leave

Jan Olsen
Friday February 10, 2006
The Guardian


The Danish editor at the centre of the prophet caricature furore has been sent on indefinite leave after a disagreement with management about whether their newspaper should also print cartoons of the Holocaust.
Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten who commissioned the original 12 cartoons last year, has defended the decision of his and other European newspapers to publish as a valid exercise to test the growing tendency for self-censorship when handling Islamic subject matter.
But earlier this week he said he would also be open to reprinting cartoons depicting the Holocaust commissioned by an Iranian newspaper. That prompted a public disagreement with editor-in-chief Carsten Juste, who has also come under pressure to resign over the row. "The editorial management and Flemming Rose have agreed that he needed a break from work until further notice," said Tage Clausen, a spokesman for the Jyllands-Posten paper.
 
  • #18
Pengwuino
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russ_watters said:
Maye this should be a topic for another thread, but I was wondering if people advocating the banning of such cartoons could explain how such a ban would legally/philosophically fit with freedom of speech.

I think it's fairly obvious to everyone that such a ban is incompatible with freedom of speech. The thinking is pretty much along the lines of the funeral protests. It really is their right to do such things but you have that blurry line of when does it come to a point where some things just shouldn't be allowed to take place. I would like to see a few things banned such as that funeral crap... but it's most likely, in my opinion, better to just allow anything to go since if you start banning one thing, whos to say where the line is drawn? It is a real slippery slope situation. The more things you really ban/make a crime, the more people start simply accepting that such things just naturally can't be said. For example, the idea of a "hate crime" sounds completely unconstitutional to me. Tacking on extra time (i suspect this is what happens in a crime vs. a hate crime) simply because of someones opinion sounds very unconstitutional but everyoen does readily accept that it is natural.

Astronuc said:
Freedom of the press simply means one is free to publish one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punishment by other members of society or the government, just as with free speech, where one is free to express verbally (usually in a public forum), one's opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc without punitive repercussions.

I disagree here. Freedom of speech does not protect you from punishment from the general public. If a store puts up a sign depicting hitler as some sort of god, that is their right and if the public decides to punish the store by refusing to shop there or staging protests (non-violent of course), the store shouldn't expect any help under the guise of protection from freedom of speech.
 
  • #19
Pengwuino
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Art said:
Legally you can't libel the dead. Even if a case is in progress if the complainant dies the case dies too.

One of the problems is, though, at least in America, that i believe you can file a complaint on the behalf of someone else. I'm not really sure if this applies here... but i do know you can file without the actual "target" being around
 
  • #20
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Pengwuino said:
Freedom of speech does not protect you from punishment from the general public.
Peaceful choices made by the general public in response to something you say are beyond the control of the law. If your marketing approach stinks then of course you will lose customers. But this has little to do with freedom of expression.
 
  • #21
Art
Pengwuino said:
One of the problems is, though, at least in America, that i believe you can file a complaint on the behalf of someone else. I'm not really sure if this applies here... but i do know you can file without the actual "target" being around
The US has the same restrictions

Edit - in keeping with the requirement for higher standards in this forum will you please 'google' on a subject before contradicting a post.

Shaping News Content: Mass Media and the Law
1. Government Censorship.
Limited by First Amendment. Key issue: wartime.
Vietnam. Few governmentally imposed limits on press. Unlike earlier wars, no need for pre-publication review. Government relies on PR, propaganda instead.
Post-Vietnam. Military unhappy with press, don't want public to see horrors of war (unpopular, undermines war). Blame media for "loss" in Vietnam.
Results. Grenada. 1983. Secrecy. No press until Day #4; operation over by then. "Sanitized" war. Press protests.
Post Grenada
Sidle Commission. Protect military secrecy; press pools for the first 72 hours.
Panama. Pool delayed by military.
Persian Gulf. Pools endure entire war (not just first 72 hours); close military observation of all coverage; pre publication review by field censors; Military goal: restrict coverage; Press forced to rely on military sources in DC/Pentagon. Many facts obscured. Government controls information.
2. Libel.
Libel basics.
Publication/broadcast that injures the reputation or lowers esteem.
Cannot libel the dead.
Defenses: Truth, Public Interest.
Media fears
Time (for reporters, editors). Can take years.
Money. Defending against suits can be expensive. Average cost $100,000; most do not go to trial.
Huge damage claims.
Media often lose at trial level. Win on appeals, yet costs high.
Libel Law: Public People (Public Officials, Public Figures)
Wide latitude to the press on public matters, public concerns.
New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964. 1960 editorial advertisement in New York Times dealing with civil rights issues. Defending M.L.King Jr., attacking Sullivan, a police commissioner, and other Southern public officials. Southern public officials sue, attempting to silence the New York Times.
U.S. Supreme Court in Times v. Sullivan, 1964: (a) debate on public issues is crucial (b) therefore public officials should expect scrutiny, criticism, (c) public officials have the opportunity to rebut charges; they can command media attention, (d) errors inevitable in public issues, public debate so (e) public officials must show that the media acted with actual malice, (f) Actual malice means knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth [extreme carelessness, had serious doubts or should have had serious doubts; source not credible; story not plausible],
Who are public officials? (a) elected or (b) substantial responsibility for or control over conduct of governmental affairs.
Public officials' public capacity or general fitness for job.
All purpose public figures (well known celebrities; public figures in all circumstances)
Limited public figures: involved in existing public controversy; voluntarily attempt to influence resolution of issues involved. LPF for that issue only.
Private people must show libel and negligence by media (e.g., negligence = poor sources, carelessness, sloppy work).
Libel: Public Proceedings (e.g., trial, city council meeting,etc.)
Participants have absolute privilege
Press report on proceedings: qualified privilege.
Report must be balanced/fair, accurate.
Libel: Public Performance (play, book, restaurant)
Inviting assessment.
Wide latitude for opinion if reasons given.

courses.washington.edu/cmuwi01/ Lectures/May%209th%20lecture.doc
 
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  • #22
Pengwuino
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Oh ok, guess you can't file against them.
 
  • #23
Pengwuino
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Orefa said:
Peaceful choices made by the general public in response to something you say are beyond the control of the law. If your marketing approach stinks then of course you will lose customers. But this has little to do with freedom of expression.

That is what i was saying. Astronuc included the idea of these said freedoms to protect one from the punishment of the general public. I disagreed and said the freedoms do not offer you protection from a backlash from the public.
 
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  • #24
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Pengwuino said:
That is what i was saying. Art included the idea of these said freedoms to protect one from the punishment of the general public. I disagreed and said the freedoms do not offer you protection from a backlash from the public.
Oh I see. I thought he said "without punishment by other members of society" to mean "without fear of violence" from them, which would be illegal anyways, but this is only my interpretation. I agree that freedom of expression is a legal principle that cannot control the public's reaction.
 
  • #25
Art
Pengwuino said:
That is what i was saying. Art included the idea of these said freedoms to protect one from the punishment of the general public. I disagreed and said the freedoms do not offer you protection from a backlash from the public.
:confused: I said what??????
 

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