The Dim-Post

January 11, 2015

How to actually strike a blow for satire and free speech

Filed under: satire — danylmc @ 12:37 pm

In the days since the Charlie Hebdo massacres I’ve seen a lot of rhetoric about the ABSOLUTE commitment western democracies have to free speech, and the CRUCIAL importance of satirists to be able to say anything – about anyone – no matter how offensive, and be protected by the law. People might be surprised to learn that in New Zealand satirists are not actually protected by the law at all, and can be sued for defamation and copyright infringement at will, while it is illegal to use images or footage from Parliament that subjects the House to satire or ridicule. So if some of the New Zealand politicians or newspapers standing on their soapboxes pontificating about how much they love satire and free speech wanted to actually promote those values and campaign to update our laws protecting satire so that they’re in line with that of most other western democracies (a simple members bill should do the trick) that’d be lovely thanks.

61 Comments »

  1. Do we still have that rule about Parliament’s proceedings not being satirised, with footage from the House? The one that got Jon Stewart so amused?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 11, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

  2. Do we still have that rule about Parliament’s proceedings not being satirised, with footage from the House?

    No! Because in the west we have absolute freedom of speech, unlike those horrible old muslims. But actually yes. ‘Coverage of proceedings must not be used in any medium for political advertising or election campaigning (except with the permission of all members shown), satire, ridicule, denigration, commercial sponsorship or commercial advertising.’

    Comment by danylmc — January 11, 2015 @ 12:50 pm

  3. Name an Islamic country with a free press.

    Comment by Highatollah — January 11, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

  4. I find it very ironic when a left wing satirical magazine is defended by right wing PMs Cameron, Harper and Key who are prepared to muzzle their own press when it suits them.

    Comment by Gerald Ginther — January 11, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  5. Because in the west we have absolute freedom of speech, unlike those horrible old muslims.

    It may be irksome to hear locals proclaiming western countries as bastions of free speech, but don’t get ridiculous with it. During the Danish cartoons bunfight, politicians in the Muslim country I was living in were outraged that the Danish government hadn’t closed the newspaper and arrested its staff, or at least required the return and destruction of the relevant issue. To them, that indicated complicity and endorsement – the concept that the Danish PM couldn’t just ring up the police commissioner and tell him who needed arresting was a foreign one. The level of freedom of speech we have is really, genuinely unlike that of Muslim countries.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 11, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

  6. While we’re here I’ll add that Trademark law seems to invoked against satire fairly regularly, especially in this multimedia age when any parody will likely include a logo or a near version of it.

    Comment by Lyndon — January 11, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

  7. Still, it might be overstating a touch to say not protected by the law *at all* – there’s the Bill of Rights and some judicial respect for journalism (both admittedly more likely to kick in if you work for a traditional news organisation). But this is still extremely soft – very much not the kind of thing one might confidently go to court on – compared to actual legal protection.

    AFAIK the relevant protection for defamation in the US wouldn’t be anything specific so much as the ‘honest opinion’ defence. I don’t know that other Westminister countries are any better than us in that regard. Of course typically the intent of satire is such that a reasonable person wouldn’t think it’s true – which should make you safe. But one so often, instead of such a person, has eg Colin Craig for a reader.

    Comment by Lyndon — January 11, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  8. Gareth Hughes’ Bill about this: https://home.greens.org.nz/bills/copyright-parody-and-satire-amendment-bill

    Comment by Sacha — January 11, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

  9. I am entirely with Psycho in this one

    Comment by Tinakori — January 11, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  10. Prior to the last election Colin Craig threatened to sue The Civilian, so yes Danyl I think it is common knowledge that satire has its limits. Having said that, Colin Craig looked like a dick for taking the action he took, and when was the last time a satirist or cartoonist was charged and convicted with defamation in NZ?

    Comment by Ross — January 11, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  11. Securing a conviction for defamation against a satirist would have a few hurdles to clear…

    http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=608

    Comment by Ross — January 11, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  12. “2000 dead in Nigeria, but no hashtags”

    Fuck your first world problems.

    Comment by Grant — January 11, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

  13. “Prior to the last election Colin Craig threatened to sue The Civilian, so yes Danyl I think it is common knowledge that satire has its limits. Having said that, Colin Craig looked like a dick for taking the action he took’”

    Even when it was a legal option, I’m struggling to believe that Colin Craig has ever been so naive about the satire against him, and is more interested in the cheap and unmetered publicity he can generate for himself by reacting in such an overblown way. He looks like an idiot to people who were probably unlikely to vote for his party anyway, but it also means that he’s an identity being talked about in MSM instead of just being a nobody on a flyer in people’s letter boxes.

    Comment by izogi — January 11, 2015 @ 10:47 pm

  14. Try homosexual satire nowadays.

    Comment by Brown — January 12, 2015 @ 6:21 am

  15. It’s probably more notable that Colin Craig actually managed to extract a right of reply from Stuff over columns by Josh Drummond and – even weirder – a Steve Braunias secret diary that had Craig defending his house from homosexualist zombies. Personally I think this is more a demonstration of the problems defamation as it stands has, in practice, for speech generally.

    Internationally we’re most out of line on the lack of a copyright exemption. We have the weird situation where people *are* regularly satirising and parodying with copyright material, but only amateurs.

    Comment by Lyndon — January 12, 2015 @ 9:01 am

  16. The level of freedom of speech we have is really, genuinely unlike that of Muslim countries.

    That’s true. But it’s also not really relevant to Danyl’s post, which is commenting on the disjunct between the language being used in the wake of Charle Hedbo about the “absolute sanctity of free speech” and the legal reality in NZ. The fact that other places may be worse doesn’t really come into it, does it?

    Try homosexual satire nowadays.

    As any occasional watcher of South Park will tell you, satire is totally gay.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 9:01 am

  17. New Zealand satirists are not actually protected by the law at all

    Yet here you are making fun of all and sundry. You rebel!

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  18. the disjunct between the language being used in the wake of Charle Hedbo about the “absolute sanctity of free speech” and the legal reality in NZ.

    Except I am not hearing many people, other than Danyl, make that claim. There is a consensus that whatever country you’re in, including here, there are limits on free speech.

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 9:06 am

  19. Except I am not hearing many people, other than Danyl, make that claim.

    Maybe you need to read more.

    Freedom of expression is a fundamental principle of democracy, one of the civil liberties held to be essential for the development and progress of individuals and mankind generally. Defending it as an absolute can be uncomfortable or inconvenient.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11383715

    The work of journalists, satirists and cartoonists around the world, must be supported. Without freedom of expression, we lose the capacity to highlight and right wrongs, hold leaders and policy-makers to account and to challenge evil wherever it occurs.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11383641

    Some religious people – Christian and Muslim – think their views deserve a privileged place. They – and others – want the law to ban blasphemy or “hate speech”. Nonsense. Free speech includes the right to offend others and the right of others to denounce you in equally offensive terms. Call it the Charlie Hebdo principle.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/64786398/free-speech-includes-the-right-to-offend

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 9:45 am

  20. You forget Its a ‘Terms of Use’ conditions from using parliaments own feed. Thats not unusual. You could say its standard, use OUR footage , then its OUR rules. This usually know as copyright.

    This of course doesnt stop anybody creating their own material, which is what Charlie Hebdo was doing. They werent pirating someones elses material and using it in their own narrative.

    To say there is some sort restriction on satire of parliament is bizarre. Copyright has lots of little hooks in it. Just ask Kim Dotcom

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — January 12, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  21. “You forget Its a ‘Terms of Use’ conditions from using parliaments own feed. Thats not unusual. You could say its standard, use OUR footage , then its OUR rules.”

    Someone can correct me if I’ve missed a policy change, but I think it would be less contentious if, back in 2005, Parliament hadn’t kicked the cameras of the television networks out of the house, and told them from that point on that they had to use official footage. Especially since the official footage makes a point of not focusing on MPs snoozing or picking their noses in the house, which had previously been a favourite visual topic of the likes of the various nightly news programmes.

    “This of course doesnt stop anybody creating their own material”

    I guess they could do what some networks overseas have done, and mock up a fake parliament to satirically re-enact what commercial cameras are no longer allowed to see, but it does strongly bias the ability of networks to showing what’s actually happening directly.

    Comment by izogi — January 12, 2015 @ 10:32 am

  22. Try homosexual satire nowadays.

    As any occasional watcher of South Park will tell you, satire is totally gay.

    Indeed. A great adventure is waiting for you ahead.
    Hurry onward Lemmiwinks, for you will soon be dead.

    Comment by Joe W — January 12, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  23. But it’s also not really relevant to Danyl’s post, which is commenting on the disjunct between the language being used in the wake of Charle Hedbo about the “absolute sanctity of free speech” and the legal reality in NZ.

    Sure. And the legal situation is even worse in France, where they have ‘hate speech’ legislation. The relevance was to the comment quoted, rather than the OP.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 12, 2015 @ 10:56 am

  24. @Andrew Geddis

    But have you seen anyone supporting CH argue that there should be no limit on freedom of expression?

    I can see the point of Danyl’s argument about risk and freedom of expression. It doesn’t make sense to climb a mountain in a storm just to prove you can. However, add an extremist pointing a gun at you demanding you don’t climb because it’s an insult to the mountain god then it turns it into a slightly different moral dilemma.

    And given that it’s about the ability to publish political satire, not something we could easily accept the loss of, then the stakes are that much higher.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2015 @ 10:58 am

  25. Sure. And the legal situation is even worse in France, where they have ‘hate speech’ legislation.

    Agreed – http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-it-means-to-stand-with-charlie-hebdo/2015/01/08/ab416214-96e8-11e4-aabd-d0b93ff613d5_story.html

    But have you seen anyone supporting CH argue that there should be no limit on freedom of expression?

    I have seen precisely zero articles/comment pieces saying “what happened to CH is an outrageous attack on the fundamental and sacrosanct principle of freedom of speech, which should only be limited by defamation laws allowing Colin Craig to credibly threaten to sue satirical bloggers and parliamentary rules stopping people from poking fun at things said and done during debates” … which is what you are asking, right?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  26. @Andrew, I was wondering where the “absolute” in the discussion had come from.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

  27. Every country should stand up for freedom of expression. Or buy our milk.

    Our bedrock principles are … flexible.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 12, 2015 @ 12:25 pm

  28. Freedom of speech is absolute. Except, of course, for the few exceptions. But those exceptions are so obvious and self-evident and necessary that they pretty much go without saying and talking about “absolute freedom of speech” is just a shortcut for saying “absolute freedom of speech (except when it’s not).” Problem solved.

    Comment by Simon Connell — January 12, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

  29. @Andrew, I was wondering where the “absolute” in the discussion had come from.

    From the sorts of editorials/thinkpieces I referred to above at 19 (and others you can pretty easily find using google making similarly definitive statements about how much freedom of speech matters as a non-negotiably priniciple).

    The point I think Danyl’s making (and I agree with him) is that it’s real easy for NZers to jump on the free speech hobbyhorse when your windmill is a bunch of ideological zealots who did a brutal thing half a world away just because they didn’t like some cartoons. And it feels great to join in that communal fist-shaking/pen holding-up declaration of faith (kind of like throwing stones at Shaitan at the Jamarat). But if you really believe in all that stuff, ignore the beam in the other person’s eye (which you can’t really do anything about) and try to remove the mote from your own.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  30. “Dr Heinz Kiosk — A psychoanalyst and rentaquote pundit who, at every manifestation of anti-social behavior, is ready to deflect responsibility from the individual perpetrator and onto society as a whole; as reflected in his catchphrase “We are all guilty!”

    Wonderful efforts by Danyl and Andrew to start imitating Peter Simple’s characters. Who comes next, the literary figure Julian Birdbath discoverer of Doreen, the 4th Bronte sister, Lt General “Tiger” Nidgett, head of the Royal Army Tailoring Corps, J Bonington Jagworth of the Motorists Liberation Front or the Reverend Dr Spacely Trellis, the Bishop of Bevindon? I think Andrew can do a very passable Bishop of Bevindon.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 12, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

  31. Freedom of speech is absolute. Except, of course, for the few exceptions. But those exceptions are so obvious and self-evident and necessary that they pretty much go without saying and talking about “absolute freedom of speech” is just a shortcut for saying “absolute freedom of speech (except when it’s not).” Problem solved.

    The problem is that some of those obvious, self-evident exceptions to the western principle of freedom of speech seem really similar to the ban on blasphemy that muslims want. Like, say, Ireland’s ban of blasphemy. Or France’s ban of Holocaust denial. Or our ban on satirical images of Parliament while in session. None of them go without saying.

    Comment by danylmc — January 12, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

  32. @Tinakori,

    What do YOU regard as the most pressing freedom of speech issue in New Zealand today, and what are you doing about it (given that vous êtes Charlie, of course)?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 2:03 pm

  33. Like, say, Ireland’s ban of blasphemy.

    Or, say, New Zealand’s ban on blasphemy:

    123 Blasphemous libel
    (1)Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year who publishes any blasphemous libel.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM329036.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_crimes+act_resel_25_a&p=1

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

  34. I agree that we should keep things in perspective. Just as long as we don’t get piously told to “keep things in perspective” by the same people who frothed and foamed way beyond reason against the fascist (sic, their words) Electoral Finance Act. It’s good to point out that New Zealand isn’t North Korea, but back then we were explicitly told the opposite.

    If anyone has a conveniently selective memory, just say so: I’d be happy to provide a reminder of the ‘Free Speech’ (sic, again) posters, placards and editorials … by the truckload.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 12, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

  35. @19

    Andrew, none of what you posted contradicted my point. The Herald hasn’t said that free speech is absolute in the sense that you ought to be able to incite violence, etc. the consensus is that free speech has limits. I think the consensus also is that being offended doesn’t give one the right to commit mass murder.

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

  36. From Andrew’s link to the NZ law above:

    “No one shall be prosecuted for an offence against this section without the leave of the Attorney-General, who before giving leave may make such inquiries as he or she thinks fit.”

    Colin Craig for Attorney-General!

    Comment by Dr Foster — January 12, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

  37. The problem is that some of those obvious, self-evident exceptions to the western principle of freedom of speech seem really similar to the ban on blasphemy that muslims want.

    I am not sure they are so similar but putting that to one side, you seem to miss a simple point: lots of people get offended by lots of different things. I get offended by people eating peas with their knife. Is the answer to change the law in response?

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 2:57 pm

  38. Or let us take the example of Valerie Morse, who burnt a NZ flag at a dawn service on Anzac Day. That aroused great anger among some of those who witnessed the event. Yet she apparently broke no laws and she wasn’t the subject of any violence. She said she didn’t take lightly the decision to burn the flag and wouldn’t do it again unless she felt it was appropriate.

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

  39. And from Andrew’s first link: “As much as the concern of Mr Fabius was understandable in the context of that now-realised fear, the magazine was right to maintain the boldness and brashness of its political satire. A French court confirmed as much when it cleared the magazine of “racial insults” and upheld its right to satirise Islamist extremism. This verdict reaffirmed that people’s right to speak their mind should be limited only where it directly threatened harm to others.”

    Andrew, you strangely overlooked that last sentence…

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2015 @ 3:10 pm

  40. @Ross (@19),

    Well, there obviously isn’t “consensus” on the last point, is there? And as for your earlier one, if free speech “must” have limits, what are they and where should they fall here in New Zealand (given that we now all are Charlie, etc, etc).

    @Ross (@38),

    It was never finally decided whether Morse broke the law or not – her conviction was overturned as the courts below misapplied the test for offensive behaviour and the Supreme Court decided the matter wasn’t important enough to require a retrial.

    @Ross (@39),

    Doesn’t that last sentence exactly support Danyl’s post? In other words, if those are the only limits allowable on free speech, then how can NZ’s defamation laws as they apply to satire/restrictions on the use of parliamentary debate footage be justified? And if we are all Charlie, what are we doing about that? If we are all Charlie, that is.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 3:30 pm

  41. A French court confirmed as much when it cleared the magazine of “racial insults” and upheld its right to satirise Islamist extremism. This verdict reaffirmed that people’s right to speak their mind should be limited only where it directly threatened harm to others.

    If sentence two were in any sense a true reflection of the situation in France, the case mentioned in sentence one wouldn’t have been able to occur. It occurred exactly because French people’s right to speak their minds is very extensively limited by French law.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 12, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

  42. “ignore the beam in the other person’s eye (which you can’t really do anything about) and try to remove the mote from your own.” So, you react to the killing of the editorial staff of a magazine in France by focusing on the restrictions on free speech in NZ? Hard to write satire in such circumstances. Difficult to improve on the absurdity of the facts.

    What do I think the most pressing freedom of speech issue in NZ might be? There isn’t one big for me at the moment though I think NZ media outlets are not carrying out their roles adequately in avoiding publishing key cartoons from Charlie Hebdo in order to explain why they have caused extreme offence to some people. I can understand why this is happening but don’t necessarily condone it. If I was still a journalist would I want my publication/outlet to publish? If a critical mass of NZ publications/outlets all ran the same or a variation on the same story, yes, I would. The most recent serious attempt to restrict political speech was of course the Electoral Finance Act.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 12, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

  43. So, you react to the killing of the editorial staff of a magazine in France by focusing on the restrictions on free speech in NZ?

    Am I wrong to take seriously all those who are passionately declaring their support for freedom of expression and asking what that principle might best mean for us here in Aotearoa/NZ? But you’re right … much better for me to grab a pen and head down to the Octagon for a very meaningful display of solidarity. Or, even better, to show my defiance with a withering diatribe on the comment thread of an obscure New Zealand blog. That’ll show ’em, right?

    The most recent serious attempt to restrict political speech was of course the Electoral Finance Act.

    The set of rules that were re-enacted in much the same form (albeit with slightly higher spending caps and a shorter regulated period) in 2010? There’s your windmill, then! Tilt away.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 12, 2015 @ 8:08 pm

  44. @Danyl/Andrew,
    Are you then asking for the blasphemy laws in NZ to be enforced to prevent people drawing depictions of mohummad?

    Comment by artcroft — January 12, 2015 @ 9:40 pm

  45. Yes, do so, and think being able to ’tilt away’ safely, and without unreasonable limitation Is a wonderful notion.

    To do so in a society in which one may do so without being shot or arrested is even better. However, if prosecuted, the right to defend yourself comes in as a great consolation.

    We can point out the finer technicalities of this to ridicule those with whom we disagree, ironically we only serve to illustrate that our freedom of expression (even our right to highlight its limitations or special conditions) in NZ/Aotearoa is just the kind of sophisticated thinking that drives certain people to engage in summary executions.

    The fact that you can discuss limitations on freedom of speech, is itself proof that you have freedom of speech, and that ‘fredom’ I would suggest is what confuses and enrages some – sometimes even our own politicians, regardless of their ‘politics’.

    Comment by Lee Clark — January 13, 2015 @ 6:57 am

  46. Are you then asking for the blasphemy laws in NZ to be enforced to prevent people drawing depictions of mohummad?

    It’s not obvious how a person could conclude they’re asking that, either from the post or its comments. Can you explain your reasoning?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 13, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  47. Andrew – what you and Danyl and your soul mate Anne Salmond (In this morning’s Dom Post) are saying is the equivalent of reacting to the Boxing Day Tsunami with the cry, “Forget about helping those victims in South East Asia, they asked for it by living so close to the coast, we have puddles in NZ! Our best response is improve our puddle policy.”

    Comment by Tinakori — January 13, 2015 @ 8:54 am

  48. @Tinakori,

    No it isn’t. Now you’re having to resort to making stuff up, which is telling. Because at what point did I say or imply the Charlie Hebdo folk were “asking for it”? And, surely, the wake of a “Tsunami” is the very best time to review our own domestic preparedness plans and ask “are they fit for purpose”?

    To adapt your (frankly daft, but you seem to like it) analogy, you’re saying that we ought to have responded to the Boxing Day Tsunami by solemnly holding up a lot of candles in memory of the victims, while smugly congratulating ourselves on having such a stable geological environment. And meanwhile “the most recent serious attempt to restrict political speech” remains on our statute book. Are you not Charlie, Tinakori?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 13, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  49. Because at what point did I say or imply the Charlie Hebdo folk were “asking for it”?

    You haven’t said that but you have argued that they chose to take risks and to put others at risk and Danyl has in addition argued that that risk was not worth it.

    The consequence of not taking any risk though would have been to accept that threats of violence are sufficient to shut down the media.

    Comment by NeilM — January 13, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

  50. I should add that Charlie Hebdo did not chose to take a risk – that risk was foist upon them. Just as shopping in a kosher supermarket is not be taking a risk.

    Comment by NeilM — January 13, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  51. I should add that Charlie Hebdo did not chose to take a risk – that risk was foist upon them. Just as shopping in a kosher supermarket is not be taking a risk.

    That’s just dumb. Of course Hebdo took risks – Iconoclasm was part of their brand promise.

    Comment by Gregor W — January 13, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

  52. @NeilM,

    All of what you say is true. And so … ?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 13, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

  53. To put it simply, I do think focusing on free speech in NZ in response to a murderous assault on journalists in France is unbelievably self-centred.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 13, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

  54. Well, there obviously isn’t “consensus” on the last point, is there? And as for your earlier one, if free speech “must” have limits, what are they and where should they fall here in New Zealand (given that we now all are Charlie, etc, etc).

    There is indeed consensus on the last point…consensus means broad agreement.

    I did not say free speech must have limits, I said there is consensus that free speech has limits. There are any number of examples in a NZ context. The important question is: where does free speech begin and end?

    Comment by Ross — January 13, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

  55. It was never finally decided whether Morse broke the law or not

    Nevertheless her conviction was quashed…and Bill Hodge reckoned it would be extremely unlikely that similar action would result in a conviction. But either way, she surely had the right to take the action she took without fear of being murdered.

    Comment by Ross — January 13, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

  56. @Tinakori,

    And I think to not consider what “free speech” means for us here in our place in the wake of Charlie Hebdo is to fail to pay proper respect to the concept, but rather engage in easy sentimentality and costless (but nice feeling) pen waving. But as the French say, vive la différence (as well as “ou est le bus pour la piscine”, of course, but that’s not quite so relevant).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 13, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

  57. And there’s one obvious aspect the perpetrators of the shootings probably wouldn’t have counted on, that hasn’t yet been mentioned: the Streisand Effect.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — January 13, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

  58. anyone interested in having a look at robust French political satire closer to home could look up Dedier Super’s New Caledonia videos.

    It’s mostly straightforward but there is a little bit of cultural unpacking to be done.

    Comment by NeilM — January 13, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

  59. “Didier”

    Comment by NeilM — January 13, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

  60. What the problem with easy sentimentality? Surely when the bodies are still warm easy sentimentality is precisely what is required rather than the bureaucratic checklist you are proposing.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 13, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

  61. Highatollah :

    Name an Islamic country with a free press.

    Interesting question. Provisional answer : Tunisia. The discreet success story of the “Arab Spring”, and now a far better liberal democracy than some EU states (Hungary, Bulgaria…)

    The fundamental issue the CH murders raises for me is “Why can’t we all just be nice and get along?”. Seriously. Take religion out of the public sphere; adopt a constitution which is consistent with the population’s moral values, but makes *no* reference to religion (which is what Tunisia did in 2014). End religious privilege. The lack of individual self-determination is stifling the Arab world, and religion is its principal agent.

    Hint : don’t try to do it by military intervention (Afghanistan); in fact, avoid military interventions in sovereign countries (Iraq, Libya) which are at least nominally secular, as you will throw them to the dogs of religious obscurantism.

    Comment by Alistair Connor — January 14, 2015 @ 6:07 am


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