‘Ere What About My Freedom Of Speech?

01 Sep

“Cor strike a light guv’nor and no mistake!  Crikey!  My rights to free speech ‘ave been impinged and I ain’t ‘appy at all!”

Or as this chap puts it:

So goes the lament as yet another British citizen has their right to free speech stomped all over by those nasty moderators at the DT.  Or have they?

The problem arises when you take into account the fact that the British people do not have the right to freedom of speech.  They don’t.  The concept of an unbridled right to freedom of speech is very much a US one, even the Canadians don’t have it, and it turns out even the US right is limited to exclude:

  • Obscenity
  • Defamation
  • Incitement
  • Incitement to riot or imminent lawless action
  • Fighting words
  • False advertising
  • Perjury
  • Harassment
  • Privileged communications
  • Trade secrets
  • Classified material
  • Copyright
  • Patents
  • Military conduct
  • Time, place and manner restrictions.

In the UK, the right is even further limited:

  • Incitement
  • Incitement to racial hatred
  • Incitement to religious hatred
  • Incitement to terrorism including encouragement of terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications glorifying terrorism
  • Collection or possession of information likely to be of use to a terrorist
  • Threatening, abusive, or insulting speech or behavior
  • Treason including imagining the death of the monarch
  • Sedition
  • Obscenity
  • Indecency including corruption of public morals and outraging public decency
  • Defamation
  • Prior restraint
  • Restrictions on court reporting including names of victims and evidence and prejudicing or interfering with court proceedings
  • Prohibition of post-trial interviews with jurors
  • Scandalizing the court by criticising or murmuring judges
  • Time, manner, and place restrictions
  • Harassment
  • Privileged communications
  • Trade secrets
  • Classified material
  • Copyright
  • Patents
  • Military conduct
  • Limitations on commercial speech such as advertising.

In the case of racial hatred people always, and I mean always, go off on one about “Ooh, define race then!”, from a legal standpoint this is defined as:

“a group of persons by reason of the group’s colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins.”

This was later amended to include sexual orientation, So going “Oh well, Welsh Gays aren’t a separate race” isn’t going to cut it.  A separate piece of legislation covers the same with regards to religion.  Curiously the law doesn’t seem to cover hating individuals.  If you find someone you really don’t like you can rail about them as an individual to your heart’s content (other laws notwithstanding).

So if you get modded and you haven’t broken a single law, complain (about the person who reported you).

And if you have broken a law, tough, suck it up and go out and sin no more.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Commentariat


One response to “‘Ere What About My Freedom Of Speech?

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