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Cartoons and Danish Law

by observer393 Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 11:47:24 PM EST

Previosly posted on Booman, but I repeat it here as there seems to be some debate on laws in various countries.

Section 266B of the Danish Criminal Code: "Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years."

or

Section 140 of the Danish Criminal Code: "Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months."


Just havent seen these posted yet. But they make intersting reading when considering all the arguements over freedom of speech. I wonder what you have to do to break one of these laws? I wonder if they cover insulting Islam?

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According to the English Wikipedia's timeline,
# October 28:
* Danish police are notified by a number of Muslim organizations, claiming that the intention of the publication of the cartoons has been to "mock and deride" the Muslim faith, something the Danish penal code prohibits (§ 140).

In another thread I have investigated what Spanish Criminal Law says about this issue, and the related court cases (there is a second court case that I want to summarize later today).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 06:18:46 AM EST
Just to help myself track the material better as these comments are beginning to qualify as ancient... here is where the spanish constitution allows for limits to free speech.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 06:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did read somewhere that a Danish prosecutor had refused to prosecute the case. I think the date of this was Jan 9, but I am not sure.
by observer393 on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 09:21:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, section 266 covers discrimination of any sort and section 140 covers blasphemous speech and behaviour.  I am not sure of the Danish court history of these two paragraphs, but I would assume that while section 266 is in use today, section 140 is a so called "sleeping" paragraph as in Norway, that is to say a paragraph that is seldom in use and that is very hard to convict on.  If you are to be convicted under section 140 I guess you have to prove "persecution".  It has be a very grave case of consistent abuse, slander and threats over time to be invoked.

As mentioned above, we have got the same blasphemy paragraph in our criminal code in Norway, but nobody has been convicted of blasphemy for decades.  The last time it was invoked in Norway was in 1933 and that was a case of verbal abuse of the Christian faith, and the perpetrator, the Norwegian writer and poet Arnulf Øverland, was acquitted.

The blasphemy paragraph is covering all religions, Islam included, but whether the court or the prosecutors find that it applies is another story.    

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Thu Feb 9th, 2006 at 11:45:57 AM EST


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