Misanthropic Boy (cureforyourpain) wrote in pc_clan,
Misanthropic Boy

Article I found interesting!

LONDON (Reuters) - Well-known British comedian Rowan Atkinson said that proposed anti-terror laws outlawing ''incitement to religious hatred'' could be used to curb freedom of expression.

``Having spent a substantial part of my career parodying religious figures from my own Christian background, I am aghast at the notion that it could in effect, be made illegal to imply ridicule of a religion or to lampoon religious figures,'' Atkinson said in a letter to The Times newspaper on Wednesday.

Atkinson starred in the hit television shows ``Blackadder'' and ``Mr Bean.''

British Home Secretary David Blunkett said on Monday that he would introduce laws to make incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment.

Blunkett said he was determined to strike a balance between ''respecting our fundamental civil liberties and ensuring they are not exploited.''

Atkinson said that although supporters of the bill would say that he and his comedic colleagues were not its intended targets, laws governing subjective or moral issues tended to ''drag a very fine net.''

``Some of the most basic freedoms of speech and expression can get caught up in it,'' he said.

Atkinson said there should be no subject about which jokes should be banned, including religion.

His concerns were echoed by other British performers and some members of the legal profession.

Omid Djalili, an award-winning British-Iranian comic currently performing a routine about the conflict with Afghanistan (news - web sites), told the paper that he ridiculed militant Islamic views in his act but did not want to be prosecuted.

Lawyer Sir John Mortimer also criticized the plan in The Times, saying it would ``hand a victory to the Taliban.''

``We should be able to laugh at other people's laws and customs. The idea that you cannot attack religions shows that the religion cannot be very strong.''

Media lawyer Mark Stephens told the newspaper he believed the legislation would be unworkable because free speech rights were bound to be given higher priority in any legal action.
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