Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals". (Full article...)
"Langit Makin Mendung" ("The Sky is Increasingly Cloudy") is a controversial Indonesian short story. Published in Sastra magazine under the pen name Kipandjikusmin in August 1968, it tells the story of Muhammad descending to Earth with the angel Gabriel to investigate the decreasing number of Muslims entering heaven, only to find that Muslims in Indonesia have begun fornicating, drinking alcohol, waging war on Muslims, and otherwise going against the tenets of Islam because of nasakom, a government policy during Sukarno's administration that combined nationalism, religion, and communism. Unable to do anything to stop the rampant sinning, Muhammad and Gabriel watch the political maneuvering, crime, and famine in Jakarta in the form of eagles. Upon publication, "Langit Makin Mendung" drew heavy criticism for its depictions of Allah, Muhammad, and Gabriel. Sastra was banned in North Sumatra, and the magazine's offices in Jakarta were attacked. Despite published apologies from the writer and publisher, the head editor of Sastra, HB Jassin, was tried for blasphemy; he was later sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence. Critical views of the story vary; the story has been compared to Dante's Divine Comedy for its depiction of a man on a spiritual quest with a spiritual companion, yet criticized for depicting Allah, Muhammad, and Gabriel in a negative light. The legal case itself has been subject to debate, with both sides arguing freedom of expression and the scope of imagination.
Image 4Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—Article 19 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (from Freedom of speech)
Image 13George Orwell statue at the headquarters of the BBC. A defence of free speech in an open society, the wall behind the statue is inscribed with the words "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear", words from George Orwell's proposed preface to Animal Farm (1945). (from Freedom of speech)
If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. ... Though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied ... Even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension [of] or feeling [for] its rational grounds.