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Old 10-10-2012, 05:01 AM
Dan Williamson Dan Williamson is offline
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Freedom of Speech

So in the UK people seem to being charged, left and right and sentenced for making crude and unfunny remarks on Social Media. Whilst I disagree with all three cases of what they have said, should they be punished by law for expressing their views.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19882618

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-19883828

This one is tricky - I detest the statement, especially having family in the forces who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. But we're fighting a war which is extremely religion-oriented, is it not natural for a Muslim to think that people killing other Muslims should go to hell?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-19869710

Another case, a missing child thought to be murdered (hell, they're charging someone with the murder with no proof of her being murdered) His reasoning for posting harsh comments were whilst intoxicated and wanting friends to think his account was hacked. I can understand him being cautioned, or even banned from using Social Media but 12 weeks jail seems fairly harsh.

Yet on the other side of the chain - supposed celebrity Frankie Boyle (never heard of him myself) posted an offensive message about Maddy McCain and yet had nothing done.

It's worrying that the UK is becoming a place where Censorship is becoming rampant, freedom of speech is becoming illegal instead of being self-policed as it was in the past (IE you say something offensive to someone you get a slap and get on with it) - we have our political parties such as the BNP/English Defence League, surely they're offensive as they're very anti-none-British and anti-muslim, surely they should be locked up too but their pages on Social Media go unpunished.

What do you guys think? Do the governments have the right to control what we say on Social Media or do we have the right to say what the hell we like.

PS: I'm fully in support of people being arrested for making comments of a sexual/threatening nature that is obviously not cool.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:28 AM
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ScriptMan ScriptMan is offline
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Dan it is a fine line and one I am not sure the courts are equipped to enforce. I think if social media is to survive they will need to enforce some self censorship of inflammatory posts. Free speech has always been limited to some extent. You have no right to yell fire in a movie theater or to express hate speech.

I did not find any direct quotes of what was said in any case so I can't pass a personal judgement on any of these cases.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:09 AM
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Jim Gillum Jim Gillum is offline
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Once free speech is limited...what will come next? Gun control...wait...

There are times when good judgement needs to prevail on the part of the publishing source....

In the US, news media will handle an inflammatory statement under the guise of free speech.....when we all know that they just want to increase readership....

Oh...and the truth has no bearing....lol

When I was a young cop....(long time ago)...we could arrest people for cursing at us....
Supreme court changed all that ...of course they are a bunch of ^%$#%%$#
(kidding)...

IMO...once a social site establishes itself as radical.....they will probably attract a lot of radical comments and lose popularity with the larger audience....)

A clean house attracts more of the "right" kind of visitors....
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:13 AM
Dan Williamson Dan Williamson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScriptMan View Post
Dan it is a fine line and one I am not sure the courts are equipped to enforce. I think if social media is to survive they will need to enforce some self censorship of inflammatory posts. Free speech has always been limited to some extent. You have no right to yell fire in a movie theater or to express hate speech.

I did not find any direct quotes of what was said in any case so I can't pass a personal judgement on any of these cases.
Aye all of the quotes were pulled quickly I believe, I don't know what they said other than a vague reference which is why I withhold judgement in some regards - however, in regards to Free Speech, I mean in a much larger sphere than yelling fire in a movie, you do in fact have the freedom of speech to yell in a movie, just as the movie theaters staff has the right to remove you from their establishment.

Another example is, the freedom of speech, we in England have the ability to say 'The Tories suck' or 'Labour Blows' without fear of prosecution, whereas I fear somewhat that our literal censorship on Social Media by our government could move on towards such standards as Russian laws which imprisoned people for speaking freely.

Hate speech I agree with, however how is hatred defined? There are obvious statements which could be perceived as hatred but in reality not.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Williamson View Post
- however, in regards to Free Speech, I mean in a much larger sphere than yelling fire in a movie, you do in fact have the freedom of speech to yell in a movie, just as the movie theaters staff has the right to remove you from their establishment.
I am not familiar with the GB laws but doing that in the US is a crime. A misdemeanor but still a crime.


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Originally Posted by Dan Williamson View Post
Hate speech I agree with, however how is hatred defined? There are obvious statements which could be perceived as hatred but in reality not.
I'm sure there a scads of legal definitions but I can't quote any. Obviously the wacko church group (chose to not mention their name) who targets military funerals is right on the cusp of the legal divide.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:27 AM
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robjones robjones is offline
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If we start using the courts to punish people for being "offensive", even in the most egregious cases... then free speech goes the way of the dodo. At least in the US I know there is no universal right to not be offended, but there is a constitutionally protected right to free speech. It wasn't granted by the courts, and should never be considered subject to their discretion.

Social networks have remedies for handling trolls. It is not and should not become the purview of the courts.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:41 AM
Dan Williamson Dan Williamson is offline
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Originally Posted by ScriptMan View Post
I am not familiar with the GB laws but doing that in the US is a crime. A misdemeanor but still a crime.
Nope, not a crime over here. We'd be asked to leave the Cinema, and possibly asked not to come back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robjones View Post
If we start using the courts to punish people for being "offensive", even in the most egregious cases... then free speech goes the way of the dodo. At least in the US I know there is no universal right to not be offended, but there is a constitutionally protected right to free speech. It wasn't granted by the courts, and should never be considered subject to their discretion.

Social networks have remedies for handling trolls. It is not and should not become the purview of the courts.
Exactly - even if this Muslim chap said he hoped that British soldiers serving in Afghanistan should burn in hell, he should not be charged. Is he a despicable person in my eyes for saying it - yes of course. However - if you censor this viewpoint then it grows, and grows until it get's out of hand.

Social Networks do have remedies, and they're often used - offensive Facebook pages are often taken down, however unless they're promoting something which is illegal, no action should be taken. We should be allowed to express our opinions. Otherwise society will stagnate out of fear of your speech being oppressed.
 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robjones View Post
If we start using the courts to punish people for being "offensive", even in the most egregious cases... then free speech goes the way of the dodo. At least in the US I know there is no universal right to not be offended, but there is a constitutionally protected right to free speech. It wasn't granted by the courts, and should never be considered subject to their discretion.

Social networks have remedies for handling trolls. It is not and should not become the purview of the courts.
Couldn't agree more.

As much as listening to hate speech would disgust me, what part of "Congress shall make NO LAW..." is unclear?

Free speech is exactly that... free. Freedom, by definition, can not include restrictions, even tasteful ones.
 
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