“Erdogan Does Not Have To Put Up with the Expression of Certain Passages”: Hamburg Judge Enjoins Comedian From Reading Poem About Turkish President

We have been discussing the roll back on free speech rights in Germany and the recent controversy over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. The crackdown on comedian Jan Boehmermann has shocked many the West. Despite the global condemnations of Merkel and her government in its yielding to Erdogan, there is at least one German judge who shows the same Merkelian disregard for free speech.  A court in Hamburg banned Boehmermann from publicly reading his poem.  Indeed, the court ruled that only six lines of the 24-line poem could be recited.  It is an absurd case of prior restraint and a chilling example of how free speech is under attack in the West.

The case was sparked by Boehmermann’s recital of his “Defamatory Poem” on national television in March. That led to Erdogen’s demand for prosecution and Merkel’s yielding to the Turkish strongman.  Now she has a willing German jurist to crush free speech.  The Court ruled that “Erdogan does not have to put up with the expression of certain passages in view of their outrageous content attacking (his) honour.” Really, an authoritarian leader destroyed civil liberties in Turkey “does not have to put up” with the exercise of free speech in Germany.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Merkel has plunged Germany into this rising sea of censorship and criminalized speech. Fortunately, polls show Germans are opposed to her and this appeasement of Erdogan.  However, she is a politician from East Germany who grew up under communist rule.  This is someone who fashioned himself or herself as a jurist but cannot imagine why a budding dictator would have to “put up with” free speech.

Source: Yahoo

26 thoughts on ““Erdogan Does Not Have To Put Up with the Expression of Certain Passages”: Hamburg Judge Enjoins Comedian From Reading Poem About Turkish President

  1. He’s a Turk! He’s a Turk!
    He’s a Turk all the way!
    From his first tryst with Stalin ..
    To his last dying day!

  2. “Really, an authoritarian leader [who] destroyed civil liberties in Turkey “does not have to put up” with the exercise of free speech in Germany.”

    So, a democratically elected head of state, declared by you to be an “authoritarian leader”, is not supposed to enjoy the equal protection of all applicable laws?

    “Angela Merkel’s decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace.”

    That “satirical poem” is of a kind you’d usually find on some rundown public bathroom stalls, laced with racial epithets and stereotypes and explicit language, as it is. Moreover, there are accusations leveled against Erdogan of several crimes (child pórn / molesting goats – to put it mildly) for which there is no evidence, all designed – as the Hamburg court maintained – to violate Erdogan’s dignity, the very human dignity enshrined in the German Constitution, which every public official in Germany swears to protect. So, in this situation, what’s wrong with the courts sorting things out, delineating the borders between protected (satirical) speech and protected personality rights (against defamation)? Isn’t that exactly what courts can and should do?

    Moreover, this wasn’t a ruling, it was just a temporary injunction, which is not yet final.

    The supreme irony is, of course, that the Hamburg court, in order to explain which passages Boehmermann is disallowed to repeat, published the whole “poem”, with the incriminating passages highlighted in red, resulting further distribution of that “poem” in full.

    http://justiz.hamburg.de/oberlandesgericht/6103290/pressemeldung-2016-05-17-olg-01/

    It’s hard to think of a more stupid and self-defeating course of action than to prosecute a vulgar clown, isn’t it?

  3. Erdogan can do whatever he wants – but he can’t force German tourists to go on holiday in Turkey. That is a fact that he and the Turkish tourism industry will somehow have to deal with.

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