Archive for free speech

Queen’s University cannot allow free speech to be stifled

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues with tags , , on 5 March 2011 by Steve

“It is arguably our foremost seat of learning, a place (supposedly) of enlightenment where free discourse and debate is encouraged and freedom of speech enshrined. But is Queen’s University now becoming a cold house for speakers of the Jewish/Israeli persuasion? …” (more)

[Lindy McDowell, Belfast Telegraph, 3 March]

US Court Ducks Academic-Freedom Debate in Ruling Against California Professor

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 13 November 2010 by Steve

“A federal appeals court has ruled against an emeritus professor who had accused the University of California at Irvine of trampling his free-speech rights, but the court did not take up the tough First Amendment questions that attracted national attention to his case …” (more)

[Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 November]

How Free is Your Speech if You Are an Instructor at a Publicly Financed School?

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 15 June 2010 by Steve

“According to the ACLU website, if you are a public school teacher your free speech latitude depends on two things: where you are expressing yourself (in or out of the classroom); and whether you teach minors or adults …” (more)

[Prometheus Unbound, 14 June]

Moral equivalence is of little use to those dying without dignity

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 24 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Because of the refusal to let me speak in Ireland, my arguments for the legalisation of euthanasia have unfortunately been lost in the noise surrounding the non-event. This has been especially evident in the press and on the internet where I have been subjected to intense abuse based on erroneous beliefs about my position. For example, I have never argued, as many have claimed, that involuntary euthanasia should be legalised or that money could be saved by the state through killing vulnerable or elderly people. Nor have I argued that the law should be broken, but rather that it should be changed …” (more)

[Len Doyal, Irish Times, 24 April]

‘Euthanasia’ professor tells president that mob’s behaviour was ‘tragic for Ireland’

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The British medical professor who was prevented from delivering a lecture on euthanasia in Cork on Holy Thursday has written to President Mary McAleese to complain about his treatment. Prof Len Doyal, who holds posts in medical ethics in the universities of London and East Anglia, also claims gardaí did nothing to stop the protestors who violently forced the lecture at Cork University Hospital to be abandoned. Doyal was invited to speak at the hospital’s ethic forum’s annual lecture, but before he could begin, an angry mob entered the auditorium. Writing to McAleese, Doyal outlined what happened …” (more)

[Michael Clifford, Tribune, 19 April]

Academic complains to President

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 18 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The American-born academic whose attempt to deliver a lecture about euthanasia was disrupted by protesters in Cork on Thursday night has written to President Mary McAleese complaining about his treatment. Prof Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, and a proponent of euthanasia, was also critical of the Garda in his letter. He had been due to address an audience at Cork University Hospital as part of a lecture series organised by the hospital’s ethics committee last week. The talk was cancelled after protesters voiced their opposition and Prof Doyal was escorted from the auditorium by hospital security personnel …” (more)

[Mary Minihan, Irish Times, 18 April]

‘Religious zealots’ at CUH euthanasia lecture slated

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 16 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Protesters who forced the cancellation of a controversial euthanasia lecture have been branded ‘religious zealots’ whose actions should be condemned. Fianna Fáil city councillor Terry Shannon launched the blistering attack, after proposing the city council pass a vote of congratulations to the Cork University Hospital (CUH) Ethics Forum which organised the lecture. He branded ‘disgraceful’ the actions of the angry group which heckled and jeered senior British medical ethics expert Professor Len Doyal at CUH last Thursday night …” (more)

[Eoin English, Irish Examiner, 16 April]

Free speech and euthanasia

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 15 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“On Thursday 9th April I headed off to CUH to attend the scheduled yet controversial lecture entitled Why Euthanasia should be Legalised by Professor Len Doyle. I was a few minutes late having enjoyed the spring walk and arrived to discover a very tense and unpleasant atmosphere coming from the auditorium. I was advised not to enter because the room had been taken over by an angry crowd of protesters who had intimidated the speaker into silence. I could hear for myself calls of ‘murderer’ and ‘Nazi’ coming from the room, as people who had attended to hear out the Professor quietly left looking shaken and upset. Within ten minutes the protesters had the auditorium to themselves; they were happily shouting about their own views and saying the rosary. I have seen many protests, and would support anyone’s right to protest against those things that they disagree with but that right to protest needs to be balanced against others right to free speech …” (more)

[Fiona Donson, CCJHR Blog, 15 April]

Cancellation of euthanasia talk

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 15 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Michael O’Driscoll’s letter (April 13th) unfairly dismisses euthanasia as a threat to society akin to child abuse or infanticide. To presume that life must be extended to its unnatural limits – simply for the sake of preservation – makes little sense and is certainly not humane. No one would seriously suggest that we encourage people to end their lives, but that is not the purpose or effect of euthanasia. Systems can be put in place to allow people who are of sound mind to make decisions for their own reasons without outside pressure. Euthanasia is not about killing sick people but rather about allowing individuals to control their own passing. Murder is a reprehensible act, but no more so than forcing people to struggle on in pain and depression simply because we feel they should …” (more)

[Conor Malone, Irish Times, 15 April]

Speaking freely

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , , on 14 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate student, I attended a debate at an Irish university. One of the speakers that night was to be a British politician who was a supporter of the former Conservative (and just turned Unionist) Enoch Powell. Just as the politician in question rose to speak, a group of students jumped up and started shouting, ‘no free speech for Fascists!’. This went on with rising volume, and in the end the man was unable to begin his speech, and the debate ended in confusion. The group concerned – which I believe (though I may be misremembering this) was organised by the ‘Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist)’ – expressed itself satisfied. Different cause, same tactics: as many will know, a UK academic, Professor Len Doyal, was recently prevented from delivering a speech during a debate at the UCC university hospital in Cork by a small group of protesters, who objected to his support for euthanasia …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 14 April]

Cancellation of euthanasia talk

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 13 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – The cancellation of the lecture on euthanasia in Cork University Hospital last week is to be welcomed. A society which has lost its sense of outrage is effectively morally dead. Thankfully, as was demonstrated on Thursday, Irish people still possess a moral compass and an instinct for when the most fundamental values in society are under threat. The HSE defended its invitation by arguing that it is only interested in stimulating debate. Evidently then the HSE believes that euthanasia may have some merit: otherwise, why bother to debate it? …” (more)

[Michael O Driscoll, Irish Times, 13 April]

The euthanasia debate must not be hijacked by zealots

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 12 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“They entered the auditorium shouting about murder and Hitler. They claimed to be advocates of the old and the sick. They purport to represent the sacredness of life, keepers of the flame in a world obsessed with killing. They were out in force last Thursday evening in Cork University Hospital. Around 50 of these protestors violently brought to a halt an attempt to discuss the issue of euthanasia …” (more)

[Michael Clifford, Tribune, 12 April]

Euthanasia protesters ‘attacked free speech’

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 12 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Pro-life demonstrators have been accused of a blatant attack on free speech after the controversial abandonment of a medical debate on euthanasia. The outspoken British doctor, Prof Len Doyal, had to receive a private security escort from Cork University Hospital’s lecture theatre amid concerns for his safety after a heated protest threatened to spiral out of control. Such was the controversy over the proposed public debate on euthanasia or the voluntary ending of life that it sparked an angry denouncement from the Bishop of Cork & Ross Dr John Buckley — and also triggered an angry row in the Seanad. Gardai were ultimately called to CUH last Thursday — but did not intervene — after repeated attempts by the lecture chairman, Prof Eamon Quigley, to restore order failed …” (more)

[Ralph Riegal, Independent, 12 April]


Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 12 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“It was a great honour to be in Cork on Maundy Thursday night to voice opposition to Professor Len Doyal, a proponent of both of voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. His lecture in Cork was cancelled. He saw at first hand that the people of Ireland are opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia like abortion is not a matter for debate. On behalf of all who work on this blog, I would like to thank Youth Defence and Mother & Child Campaign for organising a successful protest …” (more)

[Thought and Action, 11 April]

Canadian University Drops Language-Police Force on Its Campus

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 13 February 2009 by Steve

“Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario, has shut down a controversial pilot project in which eavesdroppers could intervene in campus conversations deemed to be objectionable, according to an announcement by the university’s vice president, Patrick Deane. In the project, six students, known as ‘dialogue facilitators,’ were given the authority to step in if the talk in private conversations contained offensive language, showed any form of disrespect, or trashed ethnic, gay, or religious groups. The so-called language-police project was widely condemned …” (more)

[Karen Birchard, Chronicle, 12 February]

Hecklers must not have a veto

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 3 February 2009 by Steve

“I’m very disappointed with the Literary and Debating Society of NUI Galway. Having wrapped themselves in the mantle of freedom of expression over their invitation to David Irving, they let the mantle slip last night. Having invited former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) to a public interview, the event had to be abandoned because of protests by students opposing the reintroduction of college fees … The Auditor of the Lit & Deb, Dan Colley, is reported to have said that he was ‘disappointed’ at the turn of events, and concluded ‘This was a failure of freedom of speech’. No, Dan, this was a failure on the part of the Lit & Deb to protect the process of freedom of speech …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 3 February]

Free speech means freedom for the thought we hate

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 27 January 2009 by Steve

“Freedom of expression matters most where the expression in question is unpopular: if it is to mean anything, it must mean ‘freedom for the thought that we hate’ (US v Schwimmer 279 US 644, 655 (1929) Holmes J); it covers not only mainstream ideas which hardly need protection, but also those that ‘offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population’ (Handyside v United Kingdom 5493/72 [1976] ECHR 5 (7 December 1976)). That is why this blog has defended the right to freedom of expression especially when it involves unpopular opinions or unpopular speakers …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 27 January]

David Irving Invited to Speak at NUI Galway

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 27 January 2009 by Steve

“… I don’t know if the organisers have considered the consequences of the EU Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia, which was agreed to by EU ministers at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 19 April 2007. The text requires that EU States make it a punishable crime to publicly condone, deny or grossly trivialise crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. Member States may choose to punish only conduct which is either carried out in a manner likely to disturb public order or which is threatening, abusive or insulting. Whatever position one takes about whether Irving should be punished for such crimes, it is an entirely different matter to welcome this vile bottom-feeder to our university and give him a prestigious platform …” (more)

[William Schabas, PhD studies in human rights, 26 January]