2012 in Review: How Blasphemy Laws Are Stifling Free Expression Worldwide

8

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.


As a recent Pew Forum study reveals, blasphemy laws are widespread, with laws penalizing blasphemy, apostasy, or defamation of religion (including religious “hate speech”) present in 94 countries. While in most countries, laws criminalizing certain types of speech apply to the Internet, some countries have recently crafted specific laws to ban or criminalize online expressions of blasphemy. Still others have cracked down on online speech using existing laws. Here’s a roundup of some of the worst offenders in 2012:

Saudi Arabia

It should come as no surprise that ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia is strict on speech, but this year the country outdid itself when it extradited Hamza Kashgari, a young journalist who had penned an earnest letter to the Muslim prophet on Twitter, from Malaysia. A few months later, the country began mulling over new laws to “combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic sharia” online.

Kuwait

In nearby Kuwait, the Information Minister announced in May plans to pass new lawsregulating the use of social networking sites amidst growing tensions between the country’s Shi’a majority and Sunni minority. The proposal came after writer Mohammad al-Mulaifi was detained for “insulting the Muslim Shi’ite majority” on Twitter.

Written By: Jillian C. York
continue to source article at eff.org

8 COMMENTS

  1. Failure to accept criticism is a sign of weakness and insecurity, and all religions seem to be frightened of it.

    I don’t understand why the faithful don’t welcome enquiies and shows interest in their beliefs.

    After all, if there is a God she’s surely capable of looking after herself, otherwise she would be fallible and not a God at all but simply a figment.

  2. I know, I so agree with you. If only somebody said that to all those faithful, just like you said it here!
    I sometimes think people don’t know what’s good for them – look, for example at Egypt – first they elect the Muslim Brotherhood(!!) and now they vote for a constitution that’s no good for them (!!)In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:
    >

    After all, if there is a God she’s surely capable of looking after herself, otherwise she would be fallible and not a God at all but simply a figment.

  3. Inquiry reveals the truth about religion, that all of it is bunkum; which is why they are terrified of and resistant to rationality.

    John Morley quotes
    All religions die of one disease – that of being found out

  4. In reply to #1 by Stafford Gordon:

    After all, if there is a God she’s surely capable of looking after herself, otherwise she would be fallible and not a God at all but simply a figment.

    God is so awesome – Alt Text

Leave a Reply