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Electronic Frontier Foundation Censorship Youtube Your Rights Online

EFF Looks At How Blasphemy Laws Have Stifled Speech in 2012 278

As part of their 2012 in review series, the EFF takes a look at how blasphemy laws have chilled online speech this year. A "dishonorable mention" goes to YouTube this year: "A dishonorable mention goes to YouTube, which blocked access to the controversial 'Innocence of Muslims' video in Egypt and Libya without government prompting. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a group based in Egypt, condemned YouTube's decision."
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EFF Looks At How Blasphemy Laws Have Stifled Speech in 2012

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:36AM (#42394771)

    Using the term "Blasphemy" serves to moderate what is truly an abomination: the fanatical intolerance of Muslims for anything that even smacks of an insult to the so-called prophet and they outrageous response that ultimately ends up getting people killed. Ironically, the people getting killed are usually Muslims.


  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:44AM (#42394813) Homepage

    There are 2 reasons I can see for the EFF using the more general term:
    1. One of the winners was Greece, going after someone who was satirizing a Greek Orthodox monk. It's not always about Muslims.
    2. The organization opposes all attempts to censor online speech, not just religiously motivated attempts.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:48AM (#42394861)

    that is not why anyone got killed. the problem was between the left ear and the right ear of religious whackjob killers. they will kill again for no reason

  • by BLT2112 ( 1372873 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:52AM (#42394889)
    Radical Islamic Fundamentalism is to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity (as paraphrased from The West Wing). Let's call out those who hate and oppress, and leave the rest of the members of a religion that preaches peace alone.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:54AM (#42394907)

    Just because Google can do what it wants doesn't mean it is above criticism for its actions. Any racist shitbag can spew whatever racist nonsense they want. At the same time, I can call them out as a racist shitbag all I want.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:56AM (#42394921)

    It doesn't, but I and the EFF can use their free speech rights to criticize them.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:01PM (#42394945)

    Not saying something for fear of some group of asshats using it as an excuse to kill people is being a coward. These people would have killed even if the film hadn't been made. It was nothing but a convenient excuse.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:02PM (#42394961) Journal

    ... try being a right-leaning prof in a large, prestigious college (or in Hollywood), or a skeptic of $prevailingOpinionOnHighlyPoliticizedTopic in the scientific community.

    Just something to keep in mind.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:03PM (#42394975) Homepage

    Problem with most laws over here, they are based on the fear and not some sense. In some airports over here carrying a water bottle carries a torture sentence.

    Every government tries to enact laws that mold its citizens to fit one particular morality, regardless of whether it's led by religion, hivemind democracy, or dictatorship. For localized groups that face communal problems, this has usually been perfectly fine. The real problem comes from applying one group's morality (and therefore its laws) to another group. The Internet lets everyone see everyone else's actions immediately, so what's perfectly fine to an irreverent filmmaker with poor taste in comedy can quickly spread as outrage among people with a stricter sense of decency.

    To the people who enact and support the religious laws "over there", they make perfect sense, just as the people who support anti-terrorist or gun control laws in America think those laws make sense.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:27PM (#42395247)

    Again, they didn't kill because of the film. Almost none of the people outraged by it had even seen it. It was used as an excuse for why they were killing people. Nothing more. If the film had not existed something else would have been used as the excuse. You're ether incredibly naive or stupid to think that stifling free speech in some misguided attempt to appease a bunch murderers is the right thing to do.

  • Re:Saving lives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dugancent ( 2616577 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:34PM (#42395319)

    You don't have the right to not be offended.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:41PM (#42395391)

    It's not "saving lives" it's rewarding intolerance by showing sensitivity to intolerance. It also creates a precedence that says that you recognize their intolerance and will react affirmatively to it again in the future, guaranteeing another intolerant reaction.

    Is it wrong to purposefully offend someone? Sure, that's Ethics 101.

    But Ethics 201 asks more questions about what intent means and what it means to be offended and how far you can go to react to that offense.

    By most civilized standards, rioting and killing people in response to a video is also unacceptable.

  • by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:43PM (#42395401) Journal
    If you want your point to be taken very seriously, it would be useful to point out someone who has suffered serious consequences for simply being right-leaning and not for corruption and/or using their doctorate in one field as credentials for their press releases in a different, completely unrelated field.
  • Re:A real shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover ( 150551 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:47PM (#42395453) Homepage Journal

    Tolerating the existence of "people ready to kill over an insult" is the problem, not the insult itself. But how do you get rid of those people without becoming the person that can't be tolerated? That's why people like Dawkins come in and say things like "every one of you who tolerates the belief in a supernatural power makes this problem worse, because these beliefs are always going to be mutually incompatible." His point is to start from the viewpoint that everyone who believes in the supernatural is defective, and should be fixed instead of tolerated.

    So I'd say you're exactly half right. Insulting people's religions is antisocial. But if it's part of an attempt to get rid of it, it's not irresponsible.

  • Re:Saving lives (Score:2, Insightful)

    by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:47PM (#42395455) Homepage Journal

    which is that words which are intended to be hateful do hurt

    NONSENSE. You sound like the biggest douche on the planet with that statement. When I was coming up it was "sticks and stones", now its douchebags like you with your "fluff is the new real" crap. Ya feel hurt now, little boy? I suppose you do. I guess that means you have every right to lob a bomb my way. I have NO USE for you and your ilk, you immature little fuck. I'll call ONE MAN who has more substance and fibre in his body my friend before I take 100 of you "words hurt" buggars as acquaintances.

    "Words hurt so I get to use violence as a remedy." What a silly, immature thing. You must have been raised by talking wolves. And justifying the actions of a militant, paternalistic, medieval cult that does the same thing is worse. If you were my brother my parents would be ashamed of you. Stuff and nonsense. Grow up and take charge of your own failings and immature mistakes, don't put them on some one else who says something you don't like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:58PM (#42395585)

    Obviously, nobody gets fired for "right leaning views". But you can find a cause to fire anybody if you look just hard enough. Academia is generally a pretty hostile environment to either social or fiscal conservatives. Most conservatives I know just don't talk about their political views in such environments at all, but sadly still have to listen to the endless left-wing chatter of their colleagues.

  • Re:A real shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:37PM (#42396021)

    Well it depends on what you do to push them. Now I agree that the Innocence of Muslims was a piece of crap, likely designed to do exactly what happened (although I might be giving the author too much credit, he could just be an idiotic asshole rather then just an asshole), and the movie should not have been made.
    But should Youtube have censored one asshole to appease another? Once they started doing that, where would they stop? When the only content available was selected readings from the Koran?

  • Re:A real shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:56PM (#42397911)

    Have you read the Koran ? Do you know its teachings to make judgements?

    And the answer is: YES

    There's a reason why non-Moslem suicide bombers are the exception that proves the rule. Islam.

    There's a reason why fundamentalist Moslems want to literally wipe Israel off the map and commit genocide. Islam (Don't believe me? Grow some nads and Google "dar al-Harb")

    There's a reason why Al Qaeda bombed Spain, er, al-Andalus. Islam.

    There's a reason why you can Google "honor killing" and see reports of way too many women who were murdered for committing the crime of being raped. Islam.

  • by virtigex ( 323685 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:10PM (#42398083)
    Hosting a video that is solely intended to cause outrage is bad for business and YouTube should remove it if it causes trouble. What does YouTube gain by hosting this video? This is not a US First Amendment issue, since the producer of the film is quite welcome to have the film hosted and published by some other means. Put it on vimeo your own web site or even host it via The Pirate Bay. Free speech does not mean that a company has to help you to spread your message.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal