Censorship in Flanders
This afternoon I was shocked to hear on the radio that the 'Inquisition for fighting equal opportunity' (not their real name, but it should be) had managed to get an article removed from 'The Brussels Journal'. The entry was titled 'Geef ons Wapens' (give us weapons) and appeared on may 21st 2006.
Today the article is no longer on-line. Instead we read following text (translated from Dutch):
'This text was removed at the demand of the Center for Equality of Opportunity and Combatting Racism which let us know through certified mail on may 10th that our "statements form an incitement to violence against a group based on their national or ethnic provenance (art 1 par3, 3° of the law of 30/07/1981). Hence we request you to remove the contested text or have it removed. In the opposite case the Center for Equality of Opportunity and Combatting Racism will reserve the right to press charges about this fact with the judicial authorities"'
Pure censorship, in other words: remove your article or you will be prosecuted. Freedom of Speech is one of the most important rights to me. 'Bad' ideas should be fought by shining a spotlight on them and by debating them, in my opinion. Not by censoring them: that only makes them more attractive
I'll leave it up to the reader to decide if Paul Beliën has 'bad' ideas. But this form of direct censorship crosses a line for me. I doubted at first to maybe republish the text on my weblogs. But in the second paragraph there is an explicit call not to do this:
'Even though I deny the charges, I hereby comply with the demand. As author of the text in question I ask all websites and/or other publications that have copied the text outside my knowledge and without my permission, or who have quoted passages from it, to remeove these as well. If they don't do this, it is not only a violation on my copyright but they are guilty of "incitement of violence against a group because of national or ethnical provenance", according to the laws cited by the Centre.
Let them start by prosecuting Google!