freedom of expression
At first blush, the success of the No More Page 3 campaign does not look like a victory for free speech. After all, a thing that was being published, is no longer being published. The prudish censors have prevailed, right? Look again... Is the absence of naked breasts from Page 3 a victory for feminism, though? I worry that it is not.
In light of the recent attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the debate on freedom of expression has once again come to the fore. It is claimed that Muslims are being overly sensitive and overreacting when it comes to the reprinting of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)...
So take that Riyadh: we're going to continue having a close dialogue with you. Messrs Cameron and Ellwood have only spoken on Badawi's plight when asked. There have been no big ministerial statements, no press releases, no primetime media interviews, and no carpeting for the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the UK, Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Once again, it seems that ministers are content to wear the Saudi muzzle... As the UK government knows full well (not least because Amnesty International regularly tells it so), Saudi Arabia's human rights record is a roll-call of shame.
I would invite those who are invoking the sanctity of free speech and freedom of self expression in response to the shootings in Paris to consider a few things...
#JeNeSuisPasCharlie. And - I'll bet - neither are you. But there are plenty of people out there who do exhibit the same bizarre tenacity. These atypicals may found in every culture and country - freedom of speech is not a value unique to France or the liberal western tradition.
The debate around freedom of speech has now become a fundamental issue when it comes to our online communication.
The reluctance of foreign leaders to compromise their energy interests by speaking out on the crackdown in Azerbaijan provides the armour Baku needs to protect itself from criticism over how it treats its citizens.
The attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have once again thrust open the freedom of expression versus freedom of religion debate in our society. Where does one freedom end and the other begin? And perhaps more crucially, should this latest attack force us to reconsider our limits?
There are many arguments and opinions abuzz on the social media networks, some radical, many shocked and sad. I can only speak for the ones I am exposed to, but these seem to fall within two camps - The Freedom of Speech vs. The Responsibility of Freedom.
Today, we are neither left nor right, we are French. Leaving aside partisan divisions and more than ever we advocate for national unity.