Mark Kermode had a piece in the Observer a week or so ago concerning the film Visions of Ecstasy which the British Board of Film Classification refused to grant a certificate to on the grounds that a successful prosecution under Britain’s blasphemy laws was likely to succeed. The film maker took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that that the refusal to grant classification was a breach of his rights under Article 10 of the Convention. He lost. In line with a previous judgement, the Courtaccepted that respect for the religious feelings of believers can move a State legitimately to restrict the publication of provocative portrayals of objects of religious veneration.
It is therefore simply not true to say that in Europe freedom of expression trumps the sensibilities of believers. What is true is that some believers, of some denominations, get legal protection from being offended, and others don’t.
|Crooked Timber: Chris Bertram|
Speaking of the controversy, after a rocky start Joshua Norton, unlike certain other bloggers I could link to, has thought his way to a reasonable position on the issue. And speaking of the hypocrisy, Holocaust denying historian David Irving is about to go on trial in Austria.