Freedom of Expression - the meaning and power

2006/02/04

Categories: personal

“We think we are living in a secular society where even religion can be satirised” Roger Koppel, editor of the German newspaper Die Welt

What do you think about this assertion? There’s a huge row over the cartoon all over the European countries which caricatures the prophet Muhammad. One Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published the cartoon in September 2005, and then caricatures were spreaded in a number of European newspapers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Seriously, boycotts of Danish products and protests across the Islamic world built up in late January and early February. I didn’t recognise there’re such huge reactions towards religious satire which can provoke the boycott in Islamic countries. Eventually the Danish minister apologised the satrical expression in the newspaper but at the same time defended the ‘Freedom of Expression’.

Yes, we are living in a secular society. However, I don’t think that the meaning of secular directly refers to ultimate freedom of religious expression in public. If we tolerate every single sacrilegious expression, it would surely make another disagreement and dispute (like this situation). What I really felt from the example of this row is that the more the society became secular, the more the religous aspect of the society becomes serious and controversial because secularity is based on the diverse acceptance of religions.

(…..I’ve just scribbled, and lost my way of what I really wanted to say..) Certainly, this row gives us significant points we should think upon.