Troubling Signals On Free Speech
IN HIS EAGERNESS TO PLEASE INTERNATIONAL OPINION, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS TAKEN A SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD CENSORING FREE SPEECH.
by Stuart Taylor, Jr.
National Journal Magazine
October 31, 2009
It was nice to hear Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton say on October 26, "I strongly disagree" with Islamic countries seeking to censor free speech worldwide by making defamation of religion a crime under international law.
But watch what the Obama administration does, not just what it says. I'm not talking about its attacks on Fox News. I'm talking about a little-publicized October 2 resolution in which Clinton's own State Department joined Islamic nations in adopting language all-too-friendly to censoring speech that some religions and races find offensive.
The ambiguously worded United Nations Human Rights Council resolution could plausibly be read as encouraging or even obliging the U.S. to make it a crime to engage in hate speech, or, perhaps, in mere "negative racial and religious stereotyping." This despite decades of First Amendment case law protecting such speech.
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Related Topics: Lawfare in the United States, United Nations
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