The obvious “free speech” post

As you may have read British historian David Irving has been sentenced to three years in jail in Austria for denying the holocaust happened. The charges against Irving were based on a speech and interview he gave in Austria in 1989. What happened to the “free speech” the Austrians were croaking about when they re-published the infamous Mohammed cartoons last month? They have short memories. Either they support free speech or they don’t. If they claim the right to publish cartoons which cause offence to Muslims how can they deny such freedoms to others? It’s not right I tells ya.

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  1. I think there’s no way to defend the right to a free speech if everytime a man tries to express his opinion is trialed and jailed.
    Right now it seems the only people who can say what they want are Arabs. They can march shouting every possible threats (and we know what they are capable to) and they remained untouched.
    I think you did hear about that Italian minister that was forced to resign his office on last saturday because a couple of days before he appeared on TV and during the interview he showed the mohammed t-shirt he was wearing under his suit.
    In this link a frame of that interview is visible …1940231606.html
    His show led to a revolt in many arab countries
    If you didn’t hear of that, hust look for “Calderoli” in google news.

  2. I ran something on this myself. The mans arrogance is unbelievable. Its not that he is prevented from stating a veiw, its that he is knowingly promoting something which is demonstrably untrue,but can influence those who want to believe it and will use his views to justify their hatred and their hate crimes.

    If no-one ever acted on words of hate, I’d believe in complete freedom of speech.

  3. I disagree on one thing there Jo, he IS prevented from stating a view (in Austria anyway), because stating his view lands him in jail. Even if his view is demonstrably untrue and also could influence others should he still be entitled to express it anyway without risk of prosecution? If not should people like Ian Paisley also be locked up for their views?
    Anyway, personally I don’t care if he gets 10 years for it, it’s the hypocracy which annoys me.

  4. I think a good counterpoint to this is the case of Orhan Pamuk, who had the bad form to say that there was an Armenian Genocide in his native Turkey. The Turkish government only recently dropped the charges against him.

    That, of course, is a case of something obviously true that a government wishes to deny.

    I understand the Austrian government’s position, but I don’t agree. Free societies have a way of sorting out jerks like David Irving.

  5. If only the Austrians were half as enthusiastic at prosecuting the Nazi war criminals in their midst. It’s interesting to see how the conviction of Irving fits in with Austria’s struggle to come to terms with its own support for the Nazi regime.

    On the one hand the conviction could be seen as an attempt to prevent what happened in Austria in the ‘Thirties from happening again, on the other it could be seen as an attempt by Austria to show that it is and always has been a strong opponent of Nazi Fascism.

    Either way it’s important to put the conviction in the context of Austrian history especially relating to Anschluss and its aftermath.