Saturday, 14 April 2007

Lese Majeste

On thursday, Oliver Jufer (Swiss) was pardoned after receiving a 10 year sentence for spraying graffiti on posters of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Jufer is now being deported, after 10 years living in the country.

Thai authorities have also outlawed You Tube from the country because of a few videos commenting on the King.

But it’s not only Thailand that enjoys this robust approach:

Brunei, 2006, three men were jailed for a year for sending mobile clips insulting Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Malidives, 2002, three journalists sentenced to life for insulting the president.

Poland, 2005, 28 people arrested for protesting against the visiting Vladimir Putin. Polish law mandates up to 3 years of porridge for offending their dignitaries or any visiting ones.

Similar shenanigans abound in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Belarus and Syria

On a related subject : Access to You Tube is banned in Turkey after the authorities found videos insulting their hero Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - who has been dead for nearly 70 years.

This information came from an article in the BBC News by Patrick Jackson entitled “sensitive heads of state”, there's much more detail in the full article.

It's easy to dismiss these as strange goings on in distant lands but Poland is now a fully paid up member of The Mighty Onion (European Onion, brings tears to your eyes etc) and Turkey is bent on joining the club.

How will the Poles and Turks react when "dissidents" successfully appeal to the EU in future? Nevertheless, isn't this a more promising approach to spreading democracy and freedom of speech than the US bashing of Iraq? Something for Dubya to think about there, if that isn't too much of a contradiction.

Yes, Iraq, the 51st state!



MKWM said...

Rather than a new state, they'd call Irak yet another 'additional US territory' and Turkey won't join the Mighty Onion so soon.

JJ, (blogging from the UK this week-end, aren't you?) this is a very tough subject... I know that traditions are more powerful than laws, and that, in practice, 'democracy' is not exactly what it means. We enjoy our freedom of expression on a daily basis and we often forget it is not granted to everyone, in any country. But we can speak on their behalf, can't we?

SpanishGoth said...

Uh oh - tripped and fell into serious corner......Gaaarrrgghh (didn't spill my beer though...)

Aunty Marianne said...

Tippler has sent me to tell you that there is a Blogmeet at O'Farrell's Place Luxembourg, Brussels, on Thursday 19th April. Do turn up!

Now I shall read your blog.

JolietJake said...

no, I'll be in uk on tuesday and wednesday, thursday in oslo and off to sydney for a forthnight on friday.

I won't make the blogmeet then but i'll try to blog my travails as i go along.

the thing of it is minky, is there any value on speaking on behalf of the less fortunate in this type of forum? are we condemned to merely chatting about our weekends and speculating on the history of the Roman Empire

Shaz said...

It doesn't matter where you chat about such subjects as long as you are making "someone" aware of the issue . . they might then go tell another etc etc etc

---> sneaks into suitcase on Tuesday & stows away to Oz but Shhhhh!

SpanishGoth said...

Blogs are individual and used for a reason. Some raise issues, some raise awareness, some are there solely to raise a smile.

As with most literature - the choice to read or not is individual (in free countries) as opposed to where freedom of speech is not allowed - ergo Iran jails blogger for 14 years, Egypt blogger jailed for 'insult'

JolietJake said...

I'm not a crusader for free speech or anything, but I'm glad i've made at least four people consider something other than pancake recipes. (mental note; Green Onions of course!)

Talking of onions, that was an uexpected turn around by Goth, wonders will never cease...

Shaz said...

The answers to "How Clever Are You?" are up jake . . . well done & thanks for playing along x x

Tippler said...

Well, have a good trip etc. Dobtless meself and Goth Boy will down your ration on Thursday neet.

SpanishGoth said...

Just because I choose to unleash my lunacy on the web doesn't mean anything. There are plenty of interesting blogs out there depending on what you want to read about.

I know that I can make people smile and therefore that is a good thing (especially those who are going through a tough time for whatever reason).

*gets off his soapbox and goes to the pub*