Freedom Of Expression: You Must Be Joking
One of the more depressing consequences of the Charlie Hebdo massacre is the assertion by French, and some English politicians, that freedom of expression is an absolute right. Nothing could be further from the truth. Freedom of expression in Britain is limited, for example, by libel and slander law, by discrimination law in relation to race, sex, disability and age and by official secrets. If freedom of expression were absolute, we would probably face the most appalling public outflow of extreme racist material. Thank goodness that there is no absolute freedom of expression. It is also worth noting that holocaust denial is a criminal offence in many European countries. Again, we should be thankful that there is no freedom of expression in this context.