Defending freedom of expression at Council of Europe

  • post Type / Humanists International News
  • Date / 6 October 2010

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) has submitted a Paper to a recent Council of Europe conference called to discuss “the role of the media in fostering intercultural dialogue, tolerance and mutual understanding: freedom of expression of the media and respect towards cultural and religious diversity.” This is the latest of the Council’s inter-religious dialogue conferences, which are held annually. It was held in Ohrid, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on 13-14 September 2010.

Keith Porteous Wood, of IHEU Affiliate National Secular Society (UK) who helped compile the Paper, said: “We thought it essential to submit this Paper because calls for freedom of expression to be exercised responsibly or with “respect” are often code for the imposition of censorship. Freedom of expression is at most risk from ever more strident demands from those seeking to protect religion or religious activities from scrutiny, or simply using religion as a cover to impose censorship.

“Worryingly, religious limitations on freedom of expression are gaining ground worldwide. Blasphemy law was recently introduced in Ireland and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference states are doing their level best to outlaw defamation of religions worldwide through the United Nations.”

The full text of IHEU’s submission is available at: https://humanists.international/media-intercultural-dialogue-and-freedom-expression

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