Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why "denial" is a dangerous concept

On Tuesday I noted with approval an article by Frank Furedi which discussed "denial" as the first of a series on "Really Bad Ideas".

Just how bad an idea it may be can be seen from an article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph:

People who question the official history of recent conflicts in Africa and the Balkans could be jailed for up to three years for "genocide denial", under proposed EU legislation.

Germany, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, will table new legislation to outlaw "racism and xenophobia" this spring.

Included in the draft EU directive are plans to outlaw Holocaust denial, creating an offence that does not exist in British law.

But the proposals, seen by The Daily Telegraph, go much further and would criminalise those who question the extent of war crimes that have taken place in the past 20 years.

The legislation will trigger a major row across Europe over free speech and academic freedom.

Of course, you have to enter caveats when discussing Telegraph stories on Europe. Does anyone know any more about this? Is it just another scare?

On a lighter note, I liked the observation of England Expects:
If Turkey joins the EU then we will have the comedy situation that denial of the Armenian Holocaust is a criminal offence in France, whilst mentioning it is a criminal offence in Turkey.
Thanks to Tim Worstall for the links.

2 comments:

Patrick Wallace said...

From the German government's "work programme" for its period as President:

"The Presidency plans to resume the stalled negotiations on drafting a framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia and to drive the project forward. The goal must be to achieve a minimum level of harmonization in the penal provisions of the EU Member States, particularly with regard to criminal liability for disseminating racist and xenophobic ideas."

No sign of a formal proposal or wording from the Commission or in the Council, or at least not on the web.

Bishop Hill said...

Devil's Kitchen has seen a "Framework Document" on the subject. It looks very bad indeed from what he is saying.