21 April 2009

Reporters Without Borders on Durban II

Reporters without borders have issued a very long press statement on the Durban II conference on racism. Below are some very interesting excerpts that seem to be directed at Israel's attempts to close down any talk of it being racist, LOL Imagine that!!! Reminds me of South Africa years ago, deny, deny, deny, deny and if that does not work, what do you do? Deny and censor whilst crying anti-semitism at the same time.............

Appeal for freedom of expression

Appeal to international bodies and NGOs participating in 2nd World Conference against Racism.
Reporters Without Borders and the Doha Centre for Media Freedom are concerned about the threat to free expression that arises when the media broach religious issues. They therefore urge on the Member States of the United Nations and the international and regional organisations and NGOs attending the 2nd World Conference Against Racism (Durban II) to respect the following principles.

Convinced that an in-depth dialogue between cultures and religions favours the development of a tolerant and multicultural society;

We confirm our support for these principles:

The right to freedom of religion, as enshrined in international law, above all protects the individual and to a certain extent the rights of religious and belief communities, but not the religions themselves. It guarantees respect for believers, not beliefs.

It is neither useful nor necessary to impose more binding and repressive limits on free expression that those envisaged by international law, namely the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred and incitement to war. The adoption of additional restrictions would pose a threat to the - very fundamental - freedom of expression and to related freedoms including freedom of religion.

Freedom of expression should only be subject to the restrictions imposed by law, namely the laws on defamation and insult, and the restrictions that are necessary for protecting safety and public order and the fundamental rights and freedoms or others.

Introducing or re-introducing “defamation of religions” and “blasphemy” as crimes in national or international legal documents would represent an unacceptable restriction on the right to free expression.

The dissemination of misconceptions about religions or members of religious communities may shock and elicit disproportionate reactions. But the response to hurtful comments is not to adopt laws restricting free expression but rather measures to foster a climate of tolerance and inclusiveness in which religions can be practiced without risk of stigmatisation or discrimination.

Analysis and evaluation of a religion’s content, including criticism, satire and disparaging comments, are part of the practice of freedom of expression, thought and opinion. source