How does insulting and causing offence to others fit into our right to free speech? Sandwiched between everything else we cast our ‘all-seeing’ eyes over this week, our discussion examines religion, The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and blasphemy laws.
Before that, Morgan tries to work out whether he’s financially better off or not and finds the answer lies in the murky world of the manipulation of statistics. In a brief site update, he explains the difference between the ‘freedom loving’ ogg and ‘freedom hating’ mp3 formats (as above) that we have downloadable for you each week, and then tells listeners how you can help us save money on server costs by using Bitlove to download the show. Then, it’s Twitter-airline madness, as a 14 year-old Dutch girl sends an ominous-sounding tweet and the internet responds by calling for her head. We discuss but ultimately doubt her implied assertion that simply blocking the FBI on Twitter will seriously impede their investigational abilities ;) Then, planes and tweets are obviously ‘on trend’ as someone tweets an airline with a highly inappropriate picture of a naked woman with a model aeroplane inserted into her nether regions. Randomly, American Airlines joins in the ‘fun’ by putting the picture on their Twitter feed and sending it to two customers. We note that the hole left in her body by the ‘crashing plane’ seems larger than the one left in the Pentagon – please remember before writing in about that joke that this episode is about the right to offend and insult ;) More seriously, we then look at Labour’s proposed ‘Victim’s Law’ which may include that all carers of children (teachers, social workers, etc) must report suspicions of child sex abuse or face prison themselves. In light of past sex abuse ‘scares’ in this country, we discuss the possible dangers of this and ask what training people will be given, or whether families may face the nightmare of having their children taken away, merely because of the incorrect, ill-informed and untrained suspicions of ‘well-meaning’ people.
Beginning to look at our rights to insult and offend, NotMorgan responds to Morgan’s disclaimer from last week with a disclaimer of his own, and weirdly, though perhaps pertinently, delivers more of a treatise on the nature of human experience and individual perceptions of ‘reality’. Both disclaimers can now be found on our ‘About’ page. We then look at religion, The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and why there was an apparent need for such an Act. We look at how the actions of campaigners and the House of Lords successfully introduced amendments and changed wording, removing the offences of ‘insulting’ and ‘offending’ and introducing the important distinction between an attack on a person as opposed to an attack on a person’s beliefs. NotMorgan then quotes from the paper ‘Free Speech and Incitement to Religious Hatred’, which has many well-made points relevant to this week’s discussion. We look at blasphemy and whether God needs the protection of lawyers, and discuss our thoughts on the paper, before tangentially wondering whether the Bible is the word of God or men. Morgan discusses self-censorship and people restricting their own free speech through fear of being incorrectly judged or labelled. He gives his own example of agreeing with some of Nigel Farage’s comments on EU membership and immigration, but feels that supporting those comments could see him labelled as a UKIP supporter, or even a racist, such is the mentality of many people. A final tangent sees us discussing voting, spoiling ballot papers and having a ‘none of the above’ option.
As usual, we have excellent creative commons music to play us out. This week in particular, there are many times in the show where we feel that listeners could contribute to the discussion and future shaping of the show, so please do get in touch and let us know your thoughts. Thank you for listening.
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