[pp.int.general] freedom of speech
Carlos Ayala Vargas
aiarakoa at yahoo.es
Sat Jan 10 04:01:18 CET 2009
Reinier Bakels wrote:
> Perhaps an excellent example of the ambiguity of human rights is the
> debat about the "freedom of speech". Right-wing politicians claim this
> freedom to say very unpleasant things about religious and ethnic
> groups, and then want the government to pay their protection: Ayaan
> Hirsi Ali. Some even construe this right as the "right to offend".
Spanish Constitution & constitutional case-law defines a frontier -about
the very information spread, not about privacy which has other
frontiers- to know whether you're /crossing the line/: telling the
truth, and documenting enough your sources. Talking about sources, here
there are some (though in Spanish)
"/constitutional precept demands veracity in the case of information,
which has been interpreted as/ [...] /the informer having behaved
diligently, checking information adequately regarding characteristics of
the news and the available resources/"
If you call someone liar, that someone brings you to justice, and you
prove in a court of justice that effectively that someone lies, you'll
be found not guilty. Of course, if in order to prove you're right, you
violate other rights as privacy, you'll have to face new charges -it
happened somehow in the internationally famous /wedding tapes affair/
(SGAE achieved that the owner of a restaurant were obliged to pay 43.000
€ ... in spite of evidences having being annulled, though that's another
story; however, SGAE was also obliged to pay 60.000 €, as the video tape
proving the use of copyrighted works was illegally obtained)-; anyway,
the thing about offending is: you said the truth, then you aren't
offending but just describing the facts.
> Don't get me wrong. I fully support the idea that anything can be said
> about (the substance of) government policy. Attacking people, and
> groups of people as such imho is not permissible.
Balance between UDHR's articles 12 & 19 means, in my opinion:
- that the freedom of speech doesn't allow anyone to make false
statements that harm others honor and reputation
- that someone's honor and reputation doesn't allow him to silence
anyone else's true statements
If SGAE has no inner democracy -only 1/3 of its members has right to
vote, and only 1 % of its members has more than 51 % of total rights to
vote-, and I say that SGAE has no inner democracy, I challenge SGAE here
& now to bring me to justice. Once I become not guilty by proving that
what I said was right, I would inmediately sue SGAE for falsely sueing
me (article 456, Spanish Criminal Law; a crime committed by those who,
"/knowing it to be false or recklessly despise to the truth, charges
someone with acts which, if true, would become criminal infraction, if
this charges were made before a judicial or administrative servant with
the duty to proceed with inquiries/"; and who may think of SGAE not
knowing its Statute, i.e., its lack of inner democracy?)-.
Also about Spanish constitutional case-law:
"/in no case will be allowed insulting or making clearly defamatory
statements/" (in order to remark that someone is blind, one can say
"/that person is blind/", not needing to add "/as a bat/"; in order to
remark that someone plays awfully football, one can say "/that person is
an awful football player/", not needing to also calling that person
/stupid, pathetic/, etc)
Thus, *as long as defamatory or insulting remarks are avoided, any true
statement can be expressed*. Yes, Reinier: I agree on you that freedom
of speech is not unlimited, in the sense that it shouldn't be abused;
however, I hope you agree with me on that avoiding people and groups of
people from being attacked must never be a pretext to spoil freedom of
speech, not for the sake of the truth, but for the sake of political
correctness -given that I think that what /is/ politically correct is
defined by a few-.
> Also the mistake is often made that social norms are confused with
> legal norms. The "freedom of speech" basically means that the
> government should not normally interfere.
Disagree. Freedom of speech (why those quotes?) applies not just when
you deal with government policies, but also when you deal with that
neighbor who parks blocking your garage door -and you state "/that
neighbor is behaving uncivilly/"-; or when you deal with that Spanish
RMO which wants to make pubs to pay fees even if not reproducing
copyrighted works, but copylefted works -and you state "/that RMO is
abusive/"-. I believe that freedom of speech applies anywhere, as long
(at least for the Spanish example) as you stick to the truth (and as
long as you are able to prove that you're right without violating any
And there are legal -even constitutional- norms regulating this issue.
> But there are other norms, social norms of civilisation and decency.
> Thus the right to offend is pretty nonsensical. Again, all policy
> *substance* may be attacked.
When someone lies -and here I'm not talking about anyone in particular,
just an hypothetical, rhetoric case-, that liar may ask the accuser to
be /civilized/ and /decent/. In normal circumstances, and as long as the
accuser can be able to prove that such liar lies, the uncivilized and
indecent one will be that liar -because of lying-, and any court of
justice will find the accuser not guilty.
> In sum, the "freedom of speech" has been hijacked by rigyht-wing
> politicians, so one should be careful to invoke it (under its name).
If any human rights is hijacked by anyone, it shouldn't make us avoid to
use it, but instead fight to rescue it from inappropriate hands; which
is the risk, anybody going to call me /right-winger/ if I ask for
freedom of speech? I would *laugh* at anyone who may charge me with such
nonsense; and I recommend you to do the same, just laugh at anyone who
charges you with that stuff. We in PIRATA are not going to flee from
/language arena/, nor from /ideological arena/; and I guess that the
rest of pirate parties will neither do it.
( Aiarakoa )
Partido Pirata National Board's Chairman
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