“The Delhi High Court has ordered 21 companies, which have already been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material in India, to present their plans for policing their services in the next 15 days.” A private complaint had charged the internet firms with permitting the dissemination of material offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians. [Emil Protalinski, ZDNet]
“An Austrian appellate court has upheld the conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for ‘denigrating religious beliefs’ after giving a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam.” [Soeren Kern, Hudson New York via Volokh]
Sighs of relief after a decision in a defamation case (Crooks v. Newton) reported on earlier. [Michael Geist] Justice Abella:
I would conclude that a hyperlink, by itself, should never be seen as “publication” of the content to which it refers.
Adventurous litigants in U.S. defamation cases have occasionally argued otherwise. On Canada, see also proposals to criminalize links to so-called hate speech.
Popular commentator Andrew Bolt “was found guilty Wednesday of breaking Australian discrimination law by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.” A judge “said he will prohibit reproduction of the offending articles,” and “Bolt and his publisher must meet with the plaintiffs to discuss appropriate court orders that would reflect the judgment.” [AP, earlier, Volokh](& Popehat)
While the campaign to ban “defamation of religion” appears to have lost some steam at the world body recently, continued efforts to curtail “religious hate speech” could restrict free expression in some of the same ways. [Nina Shea, NRO "Corner"; Ilya Somin, Volokh] Warns Nina Shea:
In 2009, the Obama administration had the U.S. co-sponsor with Egypt, which represented the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference], a non-binding hate-speech resolution in the Human Rights Council. In contrast to U.S. constitutional law, that resolution urges states to take and to effectively implement “all necessary measures” to combat any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence. It thus encourages the worldwide criminalization of religious hate speech.
Prosecutors say the evidence does not support convicting prominent Dutch politician Geert Wilders of violating hate speech laws. [Dutch News] On the other hand, Andy McCarthy points out that the Dutch legal system — which obviously differs on this point from our own — allows judges to force the case to continue notwithstanding the prosecutors’ view that it should be dropped. [NRO "Corner"]
Patrick at Popehat comes up with a generic post that can be re-used every few months (or days, or hours) as similar future controversies thrust themselves into public awareness.
Insensitive off-the-cuff remarks can result in criminal proceedings and fines under French law, with an Interior Minister the latest to be tripped up. [Rachel Ryan, FrumForum]