Communication law, right, and justice - Essay Example

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In the past few years, various scholars have been raising a number of concerns about the issue of blasphemy laws and the strictness that they should be accorded. In some instances, people who have been found guilty of breaking blasphemy laws have faced the law through getting…
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Communication law, right, and justice
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Bibi and Badawi In the past few years, various scholars have been raising a number of concerns about the issue of blasphemy laws and the strictness that they should be accorded. In some instances, people who have been found guilty of breaking blasphemy laws have faced the law through getting severe punishments while in other situations there has been dismissal of blasphemy related cases and this has resulted to a serious debate concerning the issue. For example, Asia Bibi a Christian woman and Pakistan native had been convicted of blasphemy by the court of Pakistan. She faced the allegations of committing blasphemy against the Muslim religion where she stated” the quran is fake and Prophet Muhammad is a liar”. This to Muslims was disrespect to the Quran that is regarded as a holy book and Prophet Muhammad who is a highly valued prophet in the Muslim religion. In another instance John Ruggles was caught saying, “Jesus is a bastard and His mother Mary is a wore. “John’s words were offensive the Christian religion and was severely punished. Punishment on blasphemy has been a great debate over the years. On other instances, some blasphemy law-breakers have remained unpunished and this has raised a number of questions on the legal considerations on blasphemy.
Punishment on blasphemy remains a controversial issue in the modern society. This is because of the legal considerations on freedom of speech that is well outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This principle states that all human beings are entitled to equal rights and freedom. For instance, in 2005, there were 12 editorial cartoons published on newspaper which demonstrating offensive message to Muhammad and Islam one of the cartoons about the prophet, he is bent over, a star covering his asshole with a caption that reads “a star has been born”. In another cartoon, the caption reads “The film will set the Muslim world on fire”, Muhammad is shown naked lying on a bed, being filmed from behind while saying, “My ass? And you like it my ass? (Hmm.).Muslims described this as mockery which is unacceptable in their religion. Following by the consequences, these published cartoons led to religious extremists’ armed attack to Charlie Hebdo who was the publisher. The attack caused 12 people’s deaths. Charlie Hebdo is accused of propagating the culture of hate speech against other religions through posting blasphemous cartoon pictures on newspapers though no action was taken against him. This gives us a good base on the legal considerations as far as blasphemy is concerned. I would argue that this has been a great controversy since the proponents for the protection of messages of blasphemy claim that religious leaders should be subjected to the same criticism and satire that other types of system face. This argument thus justifies Charlie’s actions and thus could not be convicted.
Although historically Blasphemy to many has been considered to be a serious crime that could even lead to the death of an individual, I believe that the fundamental rights of humans should be respected. For example in the Bible, those who committed blasphemy not just to God but also against prophets, church doctrines and sacred places were severely punished which included even being stoned to death. Even though blasphemy has been regarded to be a serious crime in the Bible, the modern society has had a number of social, religious and political transformations and thus this cannot be used as a basis of convicting those who have committed blasphemy.
Charlie Hebdo is justified in his works of criticizing the Muslim region through posting prophet cartoon picture on the French magazines. To support my argument, like any other human being, Charlie only was exercising of his freedom of speech and expression which is well outline in the Charter of human rights (Europe Blasphemy Laws, 2006).Moreover, Burstyn and Wilson share the same opinions about the use of cartoons to represent religious issues, for example, both view this as offensive to a specific religious group but does not include violence incitement against the specific group. They also view the cartoonist pictures to be entertaining with important and interesting ideas that seem artistic and this should be encouraged even it is offensive to a particular group
Thomas Emerson argued that speech should be protected not only as a way to search for intellectual truth or make decisions democratically but also because it was a means for achieving individual self-fulfillment. He argued for a distinction to be made between speech and action, with speech absolutely protected. Even though freedom should be respected, it is important that this freedom should be accompanied by responsibility and the respect for others. There should be the right criteria that should use to measure the extent to which blasphemy should be protected to avoid infringement on the freedom and the rights of others. I would like to agree with Emerson that a blasphemous action should only be punished if it causes any physical harm to any individual or a specific and the crime should be taken seriously. As Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
Therefore, in my opinion, the issue of cartoons should not be treated as serious blasphemous actions and should not be punished. According to Thomas Emerson theory, cartoons are just pictures that are symbolic and do not cause any harm to any individual. Therefore I use this theory to argue that the cartoonist works should not have been evidential enough to punish Asia Abibi and Raif Badawi. By using this principle, Asia Bibi and Raif Badawi also had the right to protection from any action being fake against them since their declarations did not cause harm to anyone or any group. 
The issue of blasphemy based on cartoons, movies and satirical media content has lately not been taken seriously in other places. For example, in Denmark, a case presented by a group of Muslims was not considered by the judges since they prioritized the freedom of speech and expression to be more important than the charges on blasphemy. Denmark provides for a law that imposes fines and punishments such as imprisonment for up to a period of four months for any person who is found insulting a religion that has a state recognition. The International Criminal Court and other courts need to consider the rights of human beings as this what a just society is based on (Europe Blasphemy Laws, 2006).
In a close examination of this study, one can easily conclude that the idea of cartoonist should be protected and not be convicted. A good instance of an incidence that supports my opinion is the movie Miracle that was produced by Burstyn in the 1940s, which portrayed a disturbed woman peasant who thought that a passing man was Joseph, allowed him to impregnate her, and then thought she was the Virgin Mary. This film was perceived to be blasphemous, unbiblical and undermining the Christian religion. It was banned at that moment; however, like the history always goes, the law later on was inverted to reconsider the infringement of the freedom of speech, which should be protected by the Human rights. The film and the cartoonist are not different since they both are media they contained provocative messages. Using this argument, it could be quite wrong and unfair to punish the use of cartoons to address religion matters. This to my opinion was a protection of the media freedom where the use of cartoonist and other media is not an exception.
Finally, I stand in the opinion that the freedom of speech and expression remains paramount among other issues that affect human beings. Religious beliefs though very important in any sacred society, should not overshadow the rights of individuals that are well spelt in the supreme laws of land. Just like John Milton said, “give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
Blasphemy Rubric (1)
Blasphemy Rubric (1)
You were clear in your legal claim and constructed a persuasive INDUCTIVE argument from the facts and context about the current blasphemy controversies
Good background provided on the overall context of blasphemy controversies. Suggestion: You could describe specific images included in the cartoons at issue and then frame those in the rhetoric of what they were attempting to do in terms of provoke conversations about the nature of religion, blind faith, jihadism, etc. Its always a bit better to let the readers know what the specific message is rather than simply summarize that the messages have caused a controversy.
2 / 3 pts
You explained at least three DEDUCTIVE "lenses" for deciding the cases and grounded your own reasoning by QUOTING outside authorities. You made sure your lenses were harmonious and did not contradict one another
Your deductive argument seems mostly limited to the protection philosophy: individual self-fulfillment backed up by Emerson and UDHR 19. Good quotation of UDHR 19... dont forget to quote your philosophers too in the future. 
The harm theory that youre citing seems much less developed or argued for. Its simply stated: "This is because the cartoons are just pictures that are symbolic and do not cause any harm to any individual." Its not clear which level of the harm theory youre using and theres no attempt being made to persuade readers to adopt that particular level rather than, say, the "bad tendency to create harm eventually" level. 
5 / 7 pts
You created a persuasive ANALOGY comparing facts, reasoning and outcome to select a precedent supporting your position (Ruggles or Burstyn)
The analogical reasoning is somewhat underdeveloped. The facts of the plot are well described but take the next step and suggest various parallels between the films blasphemy and prohibition and the attempt to punish the cartoonists. The key to the analogy is PERSUADING a reader that it is similar because of lots of parallels. 
For example: You could explain how the facts of Burstyn v Wilson seem similar to the facts of the cartoonist case (e.g. both involve offense to a religious group, but no incitement of violence against that group; both involve a medium typically seen as entertaining, but that medium also conveys important ideas and social comment; both involve artistic expression which should be seen as something to be encouraged even if it does give offense to some people, etc). Also be sure to quote more reasoning from either or both of Justice Clarke’s and Justice Frankfurter’s opinions as to why governments should not be in the business of determining which religion to protect and which not to protect, or in the business of trying to define what is “sacrilegious” - since what is sacrilege to one religion may not be sacrilege to another.
Ultimately, simply stating the outcome of a precedent and then saying that same outcome should apply is not persuasive. You need to PROVE the actual parallels and then draw on the reasoning from the case in order to be persuasive. Otherwise, your opponents simply cite the outcome of the Ruggles case and the audience is left to choose which outcome it wants without enough argument.
2.5 / 5 pts
Total Points: 9.5 Read More
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