Swedish MP to challenge Irish blasphemy law
His grounds for complaint, which he sets out in an article in the EU Observer, are twofold:
Countries with strong free-speech laws, such as Sweden, have reasons to worry about the Irish blasphemy legislation. The immediate concern is that Swedish citizens, while traveling within the European Union, can run into legal processes and be punished for merely expressing a view on a religion or religious symbol.
The less direct but more serious concern is that bad legislation has a tendency to spread. Once a restriction is in place in one European country it will quickly be legitimised, and politicians in other countries can point to it as they take away fundamental rights from their own citizens. The argument will be that if a developed Western society such as Ireland does it, it surely cannot be incompatible with democratic principles.
He argues that the blasphemy law contravenes Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which covers free speech.
Last week, he told the Irish Herald
Free speech is a necessary condition for scientific debate and is the best way to rational conclusions about what the truth is.
It’s a very dangerous thing to replace open debate with violence from the Government when someone opposes what the conventional truth is.
It seems like a huge step backwards
Well said, Mr Sigfrid!