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Curtail Speech in The Name of 'Protecting Religion

WPFC Issues Statement on Proposal to Curtail Speech in The Name of 'Protecting Religion'

Reston, USA, Oct. 2, 2008 - The World Press Freedom Committee (
www.wpfc.org ) - an umbrella organization representing 45 press freedom
groups throughout the world - issued a strongly worded statement
criticizing a discussion topic that is to begin today that would curtail
freedom of religion. This meeting will occur today at an experts' seminar
under the auspices of the Geneva-based United Nations Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights.

It is the strong view of the WPFC that this proposal - presented under the
guise of "defamation of religion" and introduced by the 57-member-state
Organization of the Islamic Conference - constitutes an unacceptable
attempt to curtail freedom of expression throughout the world, especially
in countries that lack an official religion.

"Recent discussions of 'Defamation of Religion'," reads the WPFC statement,
"have assumed that freedom of expression is simply one value to be balanced
among many others, and specifically that, in matters of religion, it can
properly be limited if a significant number of people would otherwise be
angered or offended by it. That view, however, is totally unacceptable to
many member states, for which freedom of expression is central to their
entire system of governance."

ENDS

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