Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Comparative View of the "Cartoon Crisis"

Juan Ferreiro Galguera, University of Coruna, has published "Cartoons Crisis, Religious Feelings, and European Court of Human Rights," in Revista Electrónica de Estudios Internacionales, volume 12 (2006). Here is the abstract.

This article deals with Freedom of Expression, which is a fundamental right, and one of its limits, respect for religious feelings, which is included within the scope of Religious Freedom, another fundamental right. We start referring in detail to the so-called crisis of cartoons, which started in Denmark in September 2005. Then we advance some reflections about the criteria elaborated by the jurisprudence of European Court of Human Rights in cases of conflict between Freedom of Expression and religious feelings, as part of Religious Freedom. After analyzing several judgments we point out two criteria: a) certain priority of freedom of expression as it is not only a human right but also a fundamental principle of democratic societies, b) three elements that must be applied to the interpretation of any limit of religious freedom or any other limit of freedom of expression: the limits must be prescribed by national law (in broad sense), they must pursue a legitimate aid, and they must be necessary in a democratic society. We end with some conclusion referring to the juridical scope of freedom of expression and the political and juridical responsibility of Mass Media in these difficult but possible equilibrium between freedom of speech and respect for religious feelings.

Download the article from SSRN here.

N.B.: It is in Spanish.

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