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Where Insults Can Get You Fined, Jailed, or Executed

Graphic: Oliver Uberti / National Geographic, source: World Press Freedom Committee
Biggify here: Link

Most Americans take our freedom of speech for granted - after all, such an idea seems like a basic and universal human rights. But be careful what you say in other countries: saying insulting things may just get you fined, land you in jail, or worse.


You've got to be kidding. 2 of the European picks are decades old and the third is a libel case. Some Western European countries have arguably better freedom of speech protection than Americans (for example, there is far less FCC-style regulation and no-one cares if you burn a flag). We should be more concerned about the egregious problems in countries where free speech really is threatened.

Here in the US we have our fair share of free speech limitations and we ought to be slower to brandish our brilliance before others. Time, manner and place restrictions are more limiting than one might think, while incitement to hatred which is punishable in other countries could do with being addressed here. The likes of the Westboro Baptist Church idiots may be taken as fools, but there are plenty of religious people with great power whose words cause violence towards gays, abortion clinic workers, blacks, etc.

Let's not wag our fingers at others without considering our own flaws.
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Don't forget that the royal family in the UK recently threatened to charge Simon Cowell with treason for saying something that offended the queen.
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Well Arbitron, I'd rather face the words of powerful people than their laws restricting what I can say.

Viva la constitution.

Im'a wag my finger at anyone I want to, 'cause I can.

Thx for the soap box to wag my finger Neato :D
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Try saying “sh!t, f*ck, c*nt” [the first time I tried to write the full words but my free speech was limited by the blog engine - seems this soap box has limitations too, BenJ] on network TV and see if there are laws restricting your free speech. The constitution isn’t as powerful as we’d like to think, and saying you’ll do something just because you can is the attitude that gives America problems like Iraq.

Which reminds me: remember GWB and his warrantless wiretaps? Another case of losing a freedom we supposedly had.
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Bizarre- Freedom of speech in the US...? A friend of mine has spent some time in jail juist for only suggesting to the officer that fining him for 2miles speeding bordered on acting like a fag... And then we see an example of 1912 from Norway...? Perhaps we should also find examples from a bit later in ...say Belgium or the Netherlands around 1945...?
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@alanna: sorry, that's not true. i searched and searched an could only find this

why do people make up nonsense??
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It's interesting how people assume that freedom of speech means you can arbitrarily insult anyone and get away with it.

When you enter a community like Neatorama for example, you agree to a certain set of rules that make sense and help develope a healthy community of people based on the respect of each other, we discuss, we agree or desagree, but we do not insult or menace, and when that happens the admins take care of it. And that is NOT against freedom of speech.

BTW, the norwegian case is from 1912, come on. Every now and then we hear from bloggers getting arrested in China and Morocco, two journalists investigating the government killed in Russia in the past few years, yet none of those is in the picture?
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Something interesting occurred just now- I tried to post a comment here that to my knowledge and intent was not rude, hurtful or harmful. Yet probably the blog engine scrapped the comment.
I don't know where Neatorama is based, but it seems that there is a big difference in what I (coming from the Netherlands) perceive as non-appropriate and what this blog thinks on the same.
I guess I grew up with the idea that rudeness and faul language not only come from the words that actually are used, but moreso from their context.

I find it at least strange that examples going back as far as 1914 are presented here. In that case why not also bring up examples from countries like the Netherlands and Belgium in 1945...? ;-)
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Alot of my comments get tagged by the auto mod, even when my comments arn't filled with a litany of curses(which are usualy the more interesting ones). All information here is linked from other sources, so my guess is that you will have to investigate their sources to get your answer. Welcome to Neatorama!
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As I write, I have to listen to a song on the radio that goes "Riverside Mother***R!!!" from a Sidney Samsom...And now I am shocked and amazed. ...But over here nobody blinks and it just gets played- This song and more others like it with lots of explicit language that couldn't get through here on this blog, nowadays are normal whereas a few years ago they would have been blocked from the radio.

...The times they are achanging... And not alwasy for the better I might add....
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@Foreigner1 and Gauldar - Sorry for that! No conspiracy or censorship here, though. You've simply tripped our secondary spam filter. Editors look at the caught comments regularly, but sometimes it takes a while (if we're busy or have gone to bed for the night).

As in the realm of email, spam is a pernicious, whack-a-mole problem on the blogosphere. We get about two thousand spammy comments a day here on Neatorama. It's likely that we flush out legitimate comments at the first automatic spam filter (Akismet) but there's not much I can do about that ... The secondary spam filter is hand-checked.
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No gripe here, I love Neatorama. Just occational frustration from the filters. :)


I'm all for free speech, but in the Canada even I can feel the restrictions getting tighter, and tighter. The last thing we need is to be just like China where free speech is accepted... as long as you clear it with the government first. When I hear a song on the radio, I hate those sound effects they put in to cover up swear words. They were put in the song for a reason; I feel either they play the song as it was meant to be played or should not play it at all.
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Hey, what about those ridiculous "Free Speech Zones" they had in the states to keep people who didn't agree with GWB out of his sight... what was up with that? I thought the whole country was supposed to be a "Free Speech Zone"?
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Thanks Alex- Now I can see both my entries and now the 2nd one doesn't make much sence anymore. :-D

@Gauldar- To me it seems that these things go like waves- Times with all the liberties in the world are followed by times with lots of repression. And in societies like ours where we have no direct dictatorships, these liberties grow and shrink by public social agreement. Like in the Victorian time in England, showing skin -any skin- was a fellony and highly Not Done. And the way you spoke about certain topics could make you an outcast bound for the Penal Colony of Australia. Nowadays overthere it is quite the opposite. :-?
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Taken for granted is soon to be gone! Remember that before you compare "American Freedom" to other freedoms around the globe and maybe, just maybe you will realize how shackled The Land of The Free is;)
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No mention of Germany's brilliant attorney Horst Mahler, who two weeks ago was sentenced to TWELVE YEARS IN PRISON for speech crimes. Then there's Sylvia Stolz, *court appointed* attorney for thought/speech criminal Ernst Zündel. Get this: Stolz is serving three years in prison right now for illegal words she spoke in court in defense of her client Ernst Zündel (in his trial for speech crimes). That's right: in Germany, as in France, Switzerland and even Canada, it is illegal to question any aspect of the "Holocaust" story upon which the current world power distribution (notably Israel's regional hegemony and the wars its AIPAC lobby and Jewish media barons have us fighting in support of it) pivots and hinges. It is so illegal in fact that even one's court-appointed attorney can be imprisoned if in his defense, she repeats any of the forbidden words. In Britain, we now have persons doing prison time for "racism." Not the *expression* of "racism," mind you, but for being proven to have "racist" thoughts.

George Orwell was right.

Oh, and Arbiton- the wiretaps you attribute to GWB were built on an "anti-terror" groundwork laid by Zio-puppet GWB's Zio-puppet buddy CLINTON and are continued by your presumably preferred Zio-puppet Messiah today.
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"Racism"? Way to tacitly reinforce meaningless establishment taboo jargon, Ted. You sound like you'd make a good though-cop yourself.
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I loved your reply, Neil. You must have plenty of practice. Although, I think you meant "thought-cop".

How did I tacitly reinforce meaningless establishment taboo jargon? By pointing out the obvious racist element in your comment? In my opinion, the word "zio-puppet" is based on a paranoid delusion that a certain group of people are ruling the world, and when you use it, you throw your credibility to the four winds. It's a racist thing, in my opinion, and I am allowed to express my opinion here. Would you deny me that?

Plus, if you've read any of my previous posts, I'm more of a grammar nazi than a thought-cop.
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