Wednesday, March 15, 2006

After Blasphemy Decision: Defiant Juste: "Attorney general on wrong track".

In an interview to the Ritzau news agency Carsten Juste, chief editor of Jyllandsposten, expresses satisfaction at the blasphemy charges being dropped, but he doesn’t like some of the wordings in the attorney general’s decision. He even thinks the attorney general is mistaken in some of his formulations. It is the remarks about freedom of speech not being unrestricted with regard to one having to be “ready to put up with "scorn, mockery and ridicule"”:

“I don’t understand him”, Juste says. "We all know that we have freedom of expression under responsibility before the courts, but I don’t think you should say at the outset that freedom of expression is limited. In that respect the attorney general is on the wrong track”, Carsten Juste tells Ritzau.

Jyllandsposten: Statement in the paper after the attorney general’s decision (excerpt):

"...... The attorney general writes clearly on the basis of decisions and statements of the European Court of Human Rights that “persons who use their right to freedom of religion, regardless whether it is as a member of a religious majority or a minority cannot reasonably be expected to be free of any kind of criticism. They have to tolerate and accept other people’s denial of their religious convictions, and even attitudes that are hostile to their belief”. The attorney general adds: “it is not unusual that there is a direct and informal debate in Denmark, where even abrasive and offensive expressions of opinion are widely accepted”.

"This is precisely what Jyllandsposten’s culture editor Flemming Rose said in the accompanying text on September 30th last year. Quite unnecessarily the attorney general finds it relevant to teach the paper that it is not reasonable that it is “… incompatible with freedom of expression to demand regard for religious sentiments and that one must be ready to accept derision, mockery and ridicule”. Such were the wordings of Jyllandsposten on September 30th, but it was a part of the logic of the whole context that such utterances are to be made within the frames of the law, included the articles on blasphemy and discrimination.” It goes without saying that Jyllandsposten knows about and respects the words on blasphemy and discrimination, which is also recognized by the attorney general in his decision on the prophet drawings".

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