Paul Coleman’s book Censored was presented in London; panel discussion with Brendan O’Neill from spiked the October Gallery
LONDON – Yesterday, 16 June 2016, ADF International officially launched the second edition of Paul Coleman’s book Censored – How European “Hate Speech” Laws Are Threatening Freedom of Speech published by Kairos Publications. The book was presented in the course of a panel discussion with Brendan O’Neill, editor of the online journal spiked, at the packed October Gallery in central London.
A week before the British electorate vote on European Union membership, O’Neill and Coleman explored what was behind Europe’s increasingly punitive hate-speech legislation, which has led to individuals being arrested, fined and even jailed for speaking out on contentious issues.
Criminalizing speech causes more tension and aggravation than it actually alleviates
“Today, the hundreds of speech restrictions across Europe are doing nothing to counter the undisputed rise in popularism, extremism, and nationalism. On the contrary, they are driving hatred and extremism underground. Criminalizing speech causes more tension and aggravation than it actually alleviates,” said Paul Coleman, Deputy Director of ADF International and author of the book.
The rise of “hate speech” laws
Censored addresses the rise of so-called “hate speech” laws throughout Europe and their devastating effect on freedom of speech. In Germany, for example, committing an “insult” is a criminal offence and in Poland offending “religious feelings” carries a two year prison sentence. In Cyprus, anyone who promotes “feelings of ill will” may be committing a crime, while in Sweden anyone who expresses “contempt” towards a group of people may be imprisoned.
Across Europe, such laws are readily being used. Ministers of religion are arrested for preaching sermons from the Bible, journalists are routinely fined, and even private conversations between citizens can result in criminal investigations. In fact, Censored documents more than fifty different “hate speech” cases throughout Europe, most of which have occurred in the last decade.
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