Thursday, February 09, 2006

Principles, schminciples

The EU is beginning to sound positively Orwellian:

Feb 8, 2006 — LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union may try to draw up a media code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the furor caused by the publication across Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, an EU commissioner said on Thursday.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show "prudence" when covering religion.

"The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression," he told the newspaper. "We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."

Exercise those rights, European publishers. Just keep in mind the "consequences." After all, we wouldn't want any accidental fires or leg-breakings, know what I mean?

Incidentally, if the media code is published by the EU government, how exactly is that self-regulation? In contrast to direct submission to sharia, maybe? Oh, here we are:

The code would be drawn up by the European Commission, the EU executive body, and European media outlets, he said. It would not have legal status.

So the EU will pass a "voluntary" speech code? Perhaps they can call it Tyranny Lite. I'd advise Mr. Frattini to give Fahrenheit 451 a read, but something tells me he'd go out and rent a Michael Moore movie.

It's hard to imagine, by the way, how a code of conduct written by the European Commission would have no legal standing. Regardless, at its core, this is the case of a government regulating the speech of its citizens subjects, for fear of giving offense. Remember all the European cries of "self-censorship" about American news media's coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq? Apparently, they were meant as a compliment.

My favorite part:

His proposed voluntary code would urge the media to respect all religious sensibilities but would not offer privileged status to any one faith.

It's hard not to yield to temptation, and use this to our advantage. For example, as someone who supports Israel, I'd advise Israelis to claim that references to "Zionist occupiers" etc. are offensive to the Jewish religion (which, after all, says pretty explicitly that Israel is the Jews' home). At that point, they can drag into court any reporter in Europe who so much as dares to claim that the West Bank is "occupied." A few burned consulates to drive the point home, and European support for Arabs -- in the press and otherwise -- should be considerably reduced.

Likewise, the next time anti-American sentiment spills over the top somewhere in Paris or Brussels, Americans should riot, boycott some products, and torch a few Washington embassies. Let's see if the EU then passes more "voluntary media codes" prohibiting offense based on nationality. Sure, it's immoral and uncivilized and all, but if the EU won't respect its own rights, why should it only be Muslims who benefit?

By the way -- isn't it amazing how Europe, aggressively secular for decades, has suddenly developed this deep respect for religions?


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