Who owns Free Speech ?

Borrowing a link here from one of my favourite blogs: Measured Against Reality

Ambassadors from Muslim countries have indicated that they intend to present the Swedish prime minister with a list of demands when they meet for talks on Friday…

“We want to see action, not just nice words. We have to push for a change in the law,” he said.

“Muslims need legal protection against the desecration of the Prophet Muhammad, maybe something similar to the protection enjoyed by Jews and homosexuals.”

Read Scott’s full post here

What gets my goat is that these are inevitably the same people who think they have the right to call someone up and abuse them.

Two examples:
1. Dilip D’Souza, whose writing does not always endear Hindu fundamentalists in India. Read his take on the Outrage Mongers :

Consider: on July 11 2006, the other set of blasts in this country happened in Srinagar. Being out and about on errands most of that morning, I entirely missed this news. Until the phone rang about noon. It was a man who had been calling regularly in those weeks. He claimed to be in Delhi, had somehow found my number, and would call to berate me and my writing in the worst possible language. As he did that afternoon. When I answered, he said to me: “D’you see what they did in Srinagar? You and your masters in Pakistan must be happy! You traitor! Why haven’t you condemned it yet?”And that’s how I found out that something awful had happened in Srinagar. And late that night, the same gentle man called to abuse me about the blasts in Mumbai’s suburban trains.

2. The incident sometime back (I do not have links here) when a radio jockey from a station in the US called up an Indian call center and hurled abuse at a lady working there.

Free speech is for the public domain. We do not have rights over the personal domain of other people.

Oh, and one more thing: people who demand that such and such things should be banned from public speech, should not, by their own logic, have any right to even put that demand in public domain.You cannot speak your mind if you are not going to let others speak their mind.


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