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A bit of good news March 23, 2007

Posted by franklittle in Culture, Freedom of speech, Islam, media, Media and Journalism.

Last month, I wrote about the trial of Philippe Val, editor of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Val was charged with ‘publically abusing a group of people because of their religion’ by the Paris Mosque and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France because he republished the 12 cartoons featuring the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Val faced a possible six month prison term and a fine against his magazine but believes in, and what is more important is ready to act at risk to himself in defence of, free speech. Yesterday, a French court ruled in his favour in a trial that united right and left politicians in France in defence of the magazine. Reuters has more details.

“It’s good news for those who believe in freedom of expression and for Muslims who are secular and support the ideals of the republic,” said Val. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders added, “This judgement is a victory in the cause of press freedom and is in no case the defeat of one community.”

Nice to see the good guys win one every now and again. Solidarité.


1. soubresauts - March 23, 2007

Yes, good news. Couldn’t agree more.

There’s a back-and-forth about press freedom and openness. So, right now, “Mein Kampf” is (sort of) banned in some European countries.

But I’m glad to see that you can easily get your hands on Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book”. Still pretty shocking; see, for example: http://www.instinct.org/texts/steal_this_book/#3.10.3

Not unrelated is Emmett Grogan’s “Ringolevio”. Emmett claimed Abbie stole his ideas, and was driven too much by his own (Abbie’s) ego. “Ringolevio” was out of print for a few years — which would amaze you if you read the book, it’s that good.

This is the same Emmett Grogan who was the main man of the Summer of Love in San Francisco, before which he had been, among other things, one of the IRA look-out men on O’Connell Street the night they blew up Nelson’s Pillar.

For another perspective on Emmett, read Peter Coyote’s magnificent memoir “Sleeping Where I Fall”.


2. WorldbyStorm - March 23, 2007

Very good news. Interesting to contrast it with the current story from Germany about the unusual judicial comments regarding Islam and wife beating.

For all the furore it’s clear that the judge was making pronouncements very much beyond the pale as regards both the judiciary, social organisations and Muslim organisations.


3. soubresauts - March 24, 2007

What’s the story from Germany? What did the judge say?


4. WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2007

It’s here in all it’s glory…



5. soubresauts - March 24, 2007

The German case is also good news in a way, because it seems that everybody recognizes that the judge lost the plot. So no precedent was set, and the error is being rectified.


6. WorldbyStorm - March 25, 2007

Couldn’t agree more soubresauts.


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