“Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”

This  is a quote from Mr Justice Sedley in the High Court case DPP v Redmond-Bate 1997. It is still, theoretically, the state of the law, and it is also a fine sentiment, which everyone on the internet, especially overly keen moderators and censors would do well to commit to memory…

Posted on 09/08/2012, in Blog only. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. p.s should have added in my original comment………… hope you are feeling much better in health than you have been, the worst over and some movement back to the 100 % mark.

    In this regard, theres a lovely lyric (one of the many he has written) in Paul Simon’s “Allergies” song which is………”I get better but I never get well” .
    I think that sums up la condition humaine admirably !

    Alan.

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    • Sounds good. The update is that I finished my second course of antibiotics yesterday (first they gave me Augmentin but that didn’t do it so they then gave me Klacid, which seems a bit better, as I am further on the road to recovery now than I was a week ago). Every day is I suppose a step forward, but it goes so slowly that you can’r tell the difference between one day and the next, it is more a question of comparing how you feel now with how you felt a week ago. How much energy I have (which is not much, that’s for sure) how much coughing is going on, how often that leads to vomiting (less, but it still happens, only right now not every day), sleeping and not having a headache. Gradually things are getting back to normal, and I seem to have lost about 14 kg over this bout of pneumonia. Many thanks for your concern.

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  2. I like that “Censorship is a manifestation of fear” I’ll be using that one!

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  3. Absolutely agree. We are all free to reject or accept (in part or completely) words that we hear or read. If we are offended by a comment or written article, we too, are free to explain why the comments are offensive and show why they are the rantings of an idiot or ill-informed ignoramus, if that be the case.
    Censorship might prevent us being exposed to evil and mischievous viewpoints but it might also prevent corrective and counterbalancing comments being put forward. It also might prevent unpalatable truths being voiced.

    Ultimately, any would be democracy (and I don’t pretend that the western world has a democracy in the Athenian sense) depends on the populace being sufficiently well informed and educated for its success. If there is a critical mass of educated citizens, then this would ensure that censorship was unnecessary as unsound and rabble-rousing individuals would be seen for what they are and ignored by an informed and educated majority.
    Censorship is a manifestation of fear. Far better to let the people say or write whatever they wish but be expected to support with rational argument and facts, the positions they hold.

    DewaDog

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