Free Speech Debate Project

Following two 3 Quarks Daily links led me to find the Free Speech Debate project. It’s supported by the University of Oxford but is essentially a global project. It contains two draft principles of free speech and allows people all over the world to vote whether they agree on them or not. I strongly recommend everyone visits, reads the 10 principles and votes. Continue reading

A few follow-ups

A couple of times I have posted about an event that hasn’t yet been resolved. While it’s nice to hear about things as they happen there is the problem of follow-up. So I’ve decided to take this opportunity to address some earlier stories and what’s been happening there.

In my Valentine’s day post I mentioned that Alexander Aan was facing prison time and possible execution because of Indonesia’s law against blasphemy. I looked a bit to see if there was any progress but I didn’t find anything conclusive. About the best I can say is that Atheist Alliance International has been able to appoint Aan a lawyer. It’s not as good as him being cleared but at least he will have a chance. Continue reading

Valentine’s day and free speech

Today is Valentine’s day. For many people it is a day to revel in the love one shares with another, regardless of race or gender. However it is also the day that a death threat was publicly issued. This death threat has been acted on yet the person responsible for it was never arrested. Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for the death of novelist Salman Rushdie for writing the novel The Satanic Verses.

One might be tempted to think that after 23 years, and the death of Khomeni, that Rushdie can now live safely. One would be wrong. Just this year Salman Rushdie was intending to appear in India for the Jaipur Literary Festival. His trip was cancelled at the last minute as word came through that there would be an attempt to assassinate him and he felt that it would be irresponsible to put anyone else at risk. Furthermore, he wasn’t even allowed to speak via teleconferencing. Continue reading