NOM BLOG

LA Times Op-Ed: Free Speech Under Fire?

 

Jonathan Turley is a professor of public interest law at George Washington University, writing in the Los Angeles Times:

... To put it simply, Western nations appear to have fallen out of love with free speech and are criminalizing more and more kinds of speech through the passage of laws banning hate speech, blasphemy and discriminatory language. Ironically, these laws are defended as fighting for tolerance and pluralism.

After the lethal riots over Dutch cartoons in 2005 satirizing Muhammad, various Western countries have joined Middle Eastern countries in charging people with insulting religion. And prosecutions are now moving beyond anti-religious speech to anti-homosexual or even anti-historical statements. In Canada last year, comedian Guy Earle was found to have violated the human rights of a lesbian couple by making insulting comments at a nightclub. In Britain, Dale Mcalpine was charged in 2010 with causing "harassment, alarm or distress" after a gay community police officer overheard him stating that he viewed homosexuality as a sin. The charges were later dropped.