Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Britain legalizes "insulting" speech

By Donald Sensing

The removal of 'insulting' from Public Order Act is a victory for free speech | Left Foot Forward:

MPs have confirmed that the word ‘insulting’ will be removed from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.
This is a major victory for an unlikely alliance of free speech campaigners including The Christian InstituteThe National Secular Society and Rowan Atkinson.
Last month the home secretary Theresa May announced that the government was ‘not minded to challenge a House of Lords amendment removing the word ‘insulting’ from Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
In the past Section 5 had been used against street preachers ‘insulting’ homosexuals and LGBT activists ‘insulting’ religious groups.
As Rowan Atkinson commented, “The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult”
This change in law is a victory for freedom of speech in the UK.
A small victory in the increasingly unfree Britain, but a victory ninetheless.

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