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IPFS News Link • Free Speech

Free Speech Is Going to the Dogs

• By Nat Hentoff and Nick Hentoff

 People are routinely arrested, prosecuted and even imprisoned for offensive speech that provokes racial or religious hatred, or offends members of an ethnic or religious group.

In Canada, Maclean's magazine was put on trial for publishing a series of articles arguing the rise of Islam threatened Western values. In France, the actress Brigitte Bardot was criminally charged with provoking racial hatred for criticizing the ritual slaughter of animals by Muslims. In Germany, France and Canada anyone questioning the Holocaust can be imprisoned.

In a 2008 New York Times column, Adam Liptak reported that the United State is practically the only developed country that prohibits criminal prosecutions based on hate speech. "Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence," he explained.