Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Germany: Banning of film that incited violent protests would be victory for extremists

Der Spiegel

The World from Berlin Ban on Film Would Be a 'Victory for Extremists'

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A demonstrator at a Pro Deutschland protest in Berlin this August. Zoom AP
A demonstrator at a Pro Deutschland protest in Berlin this August. 

Germany is considering forbidding a far-right party from publicly screening the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" in Berlin in November. But editorialists in the country say a ban would be wrong because it would play into the hands of extremists on all sides.

The German far-right party Pro Deutschland has said it plans a public screening of the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" in November, prompting fears that the event could trigger violence in Germany.

The issue has prompted a heated debate in the country, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday the film should not be shown if it endangered public safety. "I can imagine that there are good reasons for this," she said, adding that a ban on the public screening was currently being considered
 Religious blasphemy was a crime in Germany until 1969, when the law was changed. At present, acts of blasphemy are only deemed criminal if they could disrupt public peace.

On Tuesday, most German media commentators said that even though the 14-minute film is disgusting rubbish, its screening should not be prohibited because it would breach the right to freedom of expression.

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