Friday, March 6, 2009

Self-censorship in the West

From the Economist:
Anxiety over causing religious offence limits freedom of speech in the West

...Two decades after the fatwa was imposed on Mr Rushdie, it appears that many Western artists, publishers and governments are more willing today to sacrifice some of their freedom of speech than was the case in 1989. To many critics that will be seen as self-censorship that has gone too far. But a difficult balance must be struck: no country permits completely free speech. Typically, it is limited by prohibitions against libel, defamation, obscenity, judicial or parliamentary privilege and the like. Protecting free expression will often require hurting the feelings of individuals or groups; equally the use of free speech should be tempered by a sense of responsibility. But that sense should not serve as a disguise for allowing extremists of any stripe to define what views can or cannot be aired. (entire article here)

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