Freedom Of Expression Must Be Protected From Blasphemy Laws And Other Restrictions
Can also be found on the OSCE website.
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Working Session 4
Fundamental freedoms I
Warsaw, September 25, 2013
Intervention on behalf of the Gustav Stresemann Stiftung e.V.
Freedom of Expression must be protected from blasphemy laws and other restrictions
In June, 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution on freedom of the press and media in the world. It stated clearly:
”The European Parliament, [ …] is aware of the use of defamation, blasphemy and libel laws, as well as legislation referring to ‘the degrading of the country’s image abroad’ [ …] in order to imprison or censor journalists and block free expression”.(1)
On the same day, the European Parliament recommended to the council for drafting guidelines to encourage and protect freedom of religion and ideology:
“The EU should [ …] firmly oppose any attempt to criminalise freedom of speech in relation to religious issues, such as blasphemy laws.”(2)
Freedom of expression is absolutely one of the most important basic and human rights. Freedom to inform oneself without state interference and to express an opinion forms the basis for many other freedoms. There can therefore be no question of achieving any kind of balance between religious freedom and freedom of expression. No person of faith is deprived by criticism of his religion or philosophy of his right to his faith or his religious practices.