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Thread: New crime of blasphemous libel proposed for Defamation Bill - goodbye free speech ?

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    Default New crime of blasphemous libel proposed for Defamation Bill - goodbye free speech ?

    I've pointed out before that Ireland doesn't have good protection for free speech in our constitution. Unfortunately it seems like the government have just realised the same and intend taking advantage of this and cracking down on freedom of expression

    Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution had recommended amending article 40 and ensuring free speech... Dermot Ahern has gone the other way and is proposing a €100,000 fine for blasphemy and also giving the Gardaí the rights to break down our doors to seize evidende !

    Irish Times
    Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”
    “Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”
    Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises
    So what next from Ahern ... under the same article he could bring in more anti-free speech laws

    Anything that undermines: public order , morality or the authority of the State

    Or matter which is seditious or indecent !


    cYp
    Last edited by cyberianpan; 29th April 2009 at 01:44 AM.
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberianpan View Post
    I've pointed out before that Ireland doesn't have good protection for free speech in our constitution. Unfortunately it seems like the government have just realised the same and intend taking advantage of this and cracking down on freedom of expression

    Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution had recommended amending article 40 and ensuring free speech... Dermot Ahern has gone the other way and is proposing a €100,000 fine for blasphemy and also giving the Gardaí the rights to break down our doors to seize evidende !

    cYp
    Another reason for not voting Fianna Fail; their freakish ultra-right wing tendencies.

    If that passes, I would actually emigrate. I'm not joking.

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    Another reason not to vote in a spineless President who's only to happy to smile and rubber stamp all these laws without question (including the surveillance bill, amongst others).

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Factorem View Post
    Another reason not to vote in a spineless President who's only to happy to smile and rubber stamp all these laws without question (including the surveillance bill, amongst others).
    I posted links to Bunreacht above ... what Ahern proposes is perfectly permissible , indeed encouraged by Bunreacht
    Bunreacht
    Personal Rights

    Article 40

    6. 1° The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:

    i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

    The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

    The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

    Compare to the US

    Bill of Rights
    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Factorem View Post
    Another reason not to vote in a spineless President who's only to happy to smile and rubber stamp all these laws without question (including the surveillance bill, amongst others).
    If I'm not mistaken, isn't she Fianna Fail too?

    They clearly still have a right-wing ultra-conservative theocratic streak in that party and are WAY out of touch with reality.

    Perhaps they would like to see Ireland return to the 1950s in more ways than just economically.

    Maybe Ahern would like to officiate at the first evil book burning?

    Shower of ****s!

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    There are a numbers of problems with that definition and I think Pat Rabbitte's suggestions are absolutely vital to take on board. The fact that there is no carve out for publications whose primary purpose is satirical, artistic, comedic etc is bizarre.

    Labour spokesman on justice Pat Rabbitte is proposing an amendment to this section which would reduce the maximum fine to €1,000 and exclude from the definition of blasphemy any matter that had any literary, artistic, social or academic merit.

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    An Irish Supreme Court case found that blasphemy could not be defined as to try to define it would favour one religion over another, something the Supreme Court didn't fancy doing.

    Any anti-blasphemy laws are moot on the basis of that judgement.

    If blasphemy can't be defined, then there can't be any crime.

    You can't have a crime without a legal basis; there's no legal basis for blasphemy in Ireland no matter what this Defamation Bill might say.
    Last edited by marmurr1916; 29th April 2009 at 02:03 AM.

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    Default Is this an issue?!

    What are the Government and the Oireachtas doing faffing about worrying about blasphemy laws for at all?!

    We've a very secular Republic that is in a deep economic crisis. There are FAR more important issues that need to be discussed.

    Theocratic naval gazing is all this is!

    I can't see any clamour for a crack down on blasphemy!!

    What planet are these people on?

    Could they perhaps do something about the serious issues of drug addiction, violent crime, guys wandering around housing estates in Limerick with weapons that the military doesn't even have..

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmurr1916 View Post
    An Irish Supreme Court case found that blasphemy could not be defined as to try to define it would favour one religion over another, something the Supreme Court didn't fancy doing.

    Any anti-blasphemy laws are moot on the basis of that judgement.

    If blasphemy can't be defined, then there can't be any crime.

    You can't have a crime without a legal basis; there's no legal basis for blasphemy in Ireland no matter what this Defamation Bill might say.
    The Supreme Court was unwilling to get involved as there was no legislative interpretation of Bunreacht's guidance on blasphemy ... Dermot Ahern is now proposing this legislation and it looks as though it will make clear what blasphemy is ... so we are getting what looks like an effective anti-blasphemy law.

    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    In other news today Dermot Ahern has put put a tender for official state posters that will be hung in every garda station & court house.

    The tender portfolio contains suggestions such as this:



    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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