Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression

TR: Come forward without fear!
In this country there is freedom of expression.

Cartoon published on 31/01/2021 in CTXT

Pablo Hasél will go to prison for three crimes, insulting the crown and insult to the institutions of the State. For things written on Twitter and for the lyrics of his songs. He will become the first rapper to end up locked up for his ideas and for expressing them.

When the melon of censorship and limitation of freedoms is fully opened, any cut will be good. There will be no turning back.

And around here a few journalists and writers who also sign

This happens here

When we are shocked or surprised (or not, depending on the country in question), to learn of repression to restrict or prevent cases of repression to restrict or impede freedoms in other places, we do not stop to judge the person being punished personally. We don't care, we don't even know whether we like or dislike him or her or whether his or her opinions or messages fit our biases. We simply understand that to attack freedom of expression is a dangerous move. And that it is a mistake.

When it became known that some retired military yayos were being made the ass pepsicola with the idea of shooting 26 million Spaniards (sons of bitches, they called them), and other fasciscoes , we wanted them to be punished. It didn't matter that they had been crushed from a part of the abundant embers of Franco's decrepitude said in the intimacy of their digital herd. We also know that in the end nothing happened.

Those fascists knew that these things had to be said in private. If they said them in public, they risked being rejected by the majority of people and little else.

And that's where freedom of expression comes in when you least expect it. Even those human offal of the hoofed militants should have it to express their thoughts. Just as the rest of the world should have it to be able to tell them that their ideas are bullshit. Either for everyone or for no one, and that should be the end of it.

What changes everything in this apparently simple equation is the interpretation of abstractly and flexibly worded laws. Those that deal with hate crimes, apology or glorification of whatever or against whatever religious feelingsthe purpose of these laws is to criminalise opinions or thoughts expressed without there being a concrete material criminal act. Ideas are ultimately the only crime.

Criminalists advocate repealing the offence of insulting Spain, decriminalising insult and limiting hate crimes
The Criminal Policy Study Group (GEPC), made up of more than 200 professors and lecturers and judges and prosecutors who are experts in criminal law, has proposed repealing the crime of insulting Spain, decriminalising insult and limiting slander and hate crimes, so that expressions that do not directly incite the commission of a crime remain outside the Criminal Code (CC).

We have a problem

If a society has to impede with prison sentences the free choice to publicly express ideas, even if they are shitty ideas, then something is very wrong. Who can guarantee that one day a government of morons will not use those same "elastic" laws to crush any other benign idea, which could be yours, kind reader?

Freedom of speech is not freedom of speech if it doesn't sting someone. No matter how innocent your opinion may be, be in no doubt that there will always be someone who will not only not share it. It will also annoy the hell out of them.

It is a question of accepting that you cannot call freedom something that has to be limited with severe punishments depending on who or how something is said or to whom or what it is addressed.

In 2018, a sentence of the European Court of Human Rights, which also condemned Spain for imposing a prison sentence on two demonstrators who burned a photo of the King and Queen in 2007, ruled that burning photos with the monarchs' faces on them is no longer a criminal offence is freedom of expression:

"Freedom of expression extends to information and ideas that offend, shock or disturb" and are part of the conditions of "pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no 'democratic society'."

Discouragement effect

Every day, some bumbling politician, forked-key journalist, verbose talk-show host, down-and-out artist, or low-life twitterer spouts some kind of filth. One of those rubbish worthy of being cleaned with a pressurised Zotal hose brings about the debate on how to shut them up.

Shutting them all up wouldn't fix anything. Their ideas would not disappear, nor would those who share them. And I'm glad that's the case because we wouldn't be able to pay enough taxes to build enough prisons to hold them all.

By shitting on freedom of speech we neither build nor gain anything except fleeting passages of joy for the ideological rival who will cry and stamp his feet and beg for solidarity when it's his turn.

The chain of opening melons can no longer be stopped. We will demand more and more punishments for the other while freedom of expression will lose all its healthy properties thanks to to fear.

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