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 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. The Europeans appear committed to this trend of curtailing free speech and subjecting speech to coercive definitions of what the majority deems acceptable. That commitment was made all the more evident, and chilling, by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights rejecting a German anti-abortion activist’s challenge to court orders enjoining him from referring to abortions as “aggravated murder” and comparing them with the Holocaust. So now the courts are enforcing speech controls over clearly religious and political viewpoints in Europe.
The court in Strasbourg, France simply brushed aside the freedom of speech elements of a man who views abortion as murder and doctors performing abortions as murderers. It upheld the prior restraint on any future speech for Klaus Guenter Annen, in barring his views from being posted on his website or spoken in other forums. The reason is all too familiar to the free speech community. He cannot be allowed to speak freely because it “might have incited hatred and aggression.”
Indeed, in a truly Orwellian twist, it claimed that the denial of free speech in this case is “necessary in a democratic society”.