We have been discussing the rapid erosion of free speech in Great Britain with expanding criminalization of speech deemed insulting or offensive to any group or person. The most recent case involved a couple shown in a videotape burning a copy of the Koran. As offensive and hateful as this act is, it is still an exercise of free speech in my view.
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 hereand here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.
In this incident, a 45-year-old Worcestershire man says that “I’ve been trying to get my poxy fire started for half-hour wondering what s**t I can get it going with.” He then grabs a Koran and says “And then I found this. And it worked, all I’ve got left is the poxy, sh***y cover and look, that’s on the fire as well.”
Once again, as disturbing and obnoxious as such videotapes are, they are an expression of free speech, including speech related to religious faith. The solution to such hateful speech is not criminalization but better and more speech. Otherwise, countries like the UK are placed on a slippery slope of censorship and criminalization with an ever-widening scope of proscribed speech.
What do you think?