Positive dialogue needed
In the editorial entitled Blasphemy and Law (Feb. 15), the editorial writer discusses events surrounding the cartoon controversy and ends by asserting that "there must be a freedom to be offensive if there is to be any freedom at all because offence can only be personal and subjective."
I would like to ask: Does this "freedom to be offensive" include writing and professing hate propaganda? Making anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic remarks? Of course, not. Some journalists seem to conveniently forget the unwritten limits of free speech, particularly when they feel this freedom is being threatened. There is such a thing as responsible journalism, which chooses to challenge people's thinking without offending their beliefs, principles, racial background or way of life. These are all very personal and subjective matters, which a journalist may or may not personally agree with, but is expected to respect.
Journalists have the unique and coveted opportunity to express their opinions and be heard. They have a huge role to play in informing the public and critically analysing issues. However, with every right comes responsibility; with power and authority comes the importance of exercising restraint. The role of responsible journalism is not to be offensive, but to use wisdom and good judgment. The type of "us versus them" language used in this editorial will not bridge gaps but burn bridges. We need to participate in positive dialogue to create real peace and freedom in the world.
It's also illegal to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater. But the comics weren't hate speech, and they didn't put anyone in danger (except for all the people killed by angry Muslims).
Telling someone they're doing something wrong isn't hate speech.
If we stop saying anything that might offend someone, what's left for anyone to say?