Marquette Warrior: Amnesty International Favors Hate Speech Laws

Friday, October 13, 2006

Amnesty International Favors Hate Speech Laws

Not a surprise, since Amnesty is pretty much your standard liberal interest group, but in the wake of the flap over Danish cartoons showing images of Muhammad, the organization issued the following statement:
The right to freedom of opinion and expression should be one of the cornerstones of any society. . . .

However, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute -- neither for the creators of material nor their critics. It carries responsibilities and it may, therefore, be subject to restrictions in the name of safeguarding the rights of others. In particular, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence cannot be considered legitimate exercise of freedom of expression. Under international standards, such “hate speech” should be prohibited by law.

AI calls on the government officials and those responsible for law enforcement and the administration of justice to be guided by these human rights principles in their handling of the current situation.
Given the context, the Danish cartoons, it’s clear that Amnesty is interpreting “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred” very broadly. In fact, in practice it will mean nothing more nor less than saying something that some politically correct group objects to.

“Safeguarding the rights of others” of course means protecting the “right” of politically correct groups not to hear things they dislike.

So for Amnesty, “human rights” means shutting people up.


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