Threat to Freedom Of Speech in Poland: Is This Part of a General Slide into Tyranny?

By • on January 19, 2012

Freedom of speech is once again under threat in Europe, this time in Poland, and this time Islam does not take centre stage, though religion does.  In a case that mirrors the recent one in Austria against Elisabeth Sabaditch-Wolff the Polish pop star Doda has had her right to speak her mind curtailed and has been fined for criticizing the Bible.  The story can be found in the Warsaw Business Journal.

Again the word ‘offence’ has been used in the proceedings, though if you do not have the right to offend or challenge belief then you effectively have no freedom of speech at all.  Whether it is the Bible, the Koran, the Gurru Granth Sahib, The Veda, or even Marx’s Das Capital, people have the right to criticise philosophical texts whether they are secular or religious.  In fact all philosophies should be eligible for criticism.  If Marxism was protected from criticism during the Cold War then would the Berlin Wall have fallen?

The Warsaw Business Journal article states in relation to the singer’s freedom of speech defence:

“But on Monday, the judge in the case, Agnieszka Jarosz, ruled that the artist’s statements could not be defended by an appeal to freedom of speech. She said Ms Rabczewska had the right “to assess [the content of the Bible] in the context of scientific discovery but had no right to insult” the religious text.”

This is almost suggesting that you must possess a university degree in freedom of speech to have the right to say what’s on your mind.  If you can’t effectively state an opinion you effectively do not have the right to meaningful freedom of speech.  If every word has to be measured when discussing religion or other sensitive issues then effectively the less well educated are excluded from debate.  Europe is moving towards a situation where only ‘experts’ can take part in the political process.  This kind of mass disenfranchisement is totally unacceptable in a true democracy but seemingly something to be encouraged in the anti-democratic European Union.

People have been criticizing Christian beliefs in Europe for hundreds of years, and artists have been getting in on the act and insulting Christianity in the most tasteless and offensive manner.  It is mainly since the deliberately manufactured Danish Cartoons Crisis that criticism of religion has become taboo and attempts to make attitudes regress back to the Middle Ages have been made.

Governments in Europe have been pandering to Islamists for many years now.  Currently controversy rages about the ‘Istanbul Process’ which has arisen from a campaign in the United Nations instigated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to effectively end the right to meaningful free speech.  In the spirit of its continuing appeasement of Islamism, the European Union has agreed to host the next round of the ‘Istanbul Process’ at a meeting provisionally been scheduled to take place in July 2012.  The Istanbul Process relates to United Nations Resolution 16/18 which was adopted on 24 March 2011 and deals with:

“Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief”

Of course, this is all well and good, but the aims behind it seem more about restricting free speech on the subject of Islam which is having an increasing impact on the lives of every person in the world.  After all, some members of the OIC do not exactly have a good record with regard to religious toleration as recent events in Nigeria clearly indicate.  Perhaps the OIC member states should lead by example if they really care about issues of discrimination on religious grounds before attacking cherished Western freedoms.

It seems likely that in the build up to the Istanbul Process meeting in Europe, members of the EU elite want to make it appear that the discussions relation to Resolution 16/18 are not seen as specifically about Islam and the OIC attack on freedom of speech.  Could this case in Poland be part of such a plan and will Christianity miraculously gain protection from abuse in the run up to that meeting?  Perhaps it might but, if the OIC gets its way, it is more than likely that EU governments will resume their traditional policy of Christianity bashing and it will be business as usual in many member states of the OIC.

Religion is a justifiable subject of debate and it is essential that, as political Islam continues to assert itself in countries across the Western world, that religious influences on political decision making are openly discussed and debated.  This is the same for all in relation to all religions, especially when they or their practitioners involve themselves in politics.  Limiting the right to discuss such issues is a subversive act in a democracy and any country that imposes such restrictions is a democracy in name only.  It is a recipe for a return to a world of witch hunts and inquisitions.  People have the right to live in free societies and free societies are not possible without freedom of expression.