Monday, May 08, 2017

No freedom of speech in Ireland

Just when we thought Ireland was getting better and dragging itself into the twentieth century, they're investigating Stephen Fry for "blasphemy":

Stephen Fry is being investigated by Irish police over blasphemy claims more than two years after his outspoken comments about God on RTE's The Meaning of Life went viral.

Mr Fry described a hypothetical creator as “stupid” and an “utter maniac” for designing a world filled with undue suffering.

Asked in 2015 by the programme's host, Gay Byrne, what he would say to God if he arrived at the pearly gates of heaven, the actor and author replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about?”

The committed atheist added: “How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.

And for saying this, Fry could face a fine of €25,000. But not under some archaic law still on the statute books from a bygone era - the law was updated in 2009!

But bfore we feel too mug, remember: "blasphemous libel" is still a criminal offence in New Zealand, and Fry could conceivably be prosecuted here for those words as well. He would be unlikely to, given the failure of the only prosecution and the environment set by the BORA, but as long as the law is on the books it is still a possibility. If any MP wants to repeal that obscenity, there's a bill to do it here.