STATEMENT
Reading broadens the mind: Send a bookbasher a book
08 Aug 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

On Saturday, thugs damaged displays and threatened staff at a bookshop in London. At Index on Censorship, we believe reading broadens the mind and helps to create a more tolerant and inclusive society. So we’re sending some of the books we’ve been featuring ahead of next month’s Banned Books Week to those involved.

The books include The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, a book burned in the Nazi bonfires of 1933 because of Sinclair’s socialist views, as well as The Color Purple, The Handmaid’s Tale and a copy of the Quran. We’re sending them to UKIP, which has suspended the attackers as members, in the hope they will forward these on to them as something to read during their suspension.

If you’d like to help us raise funds to cover the costs of these books or support our work tackling censorship, please donate here, or feel free to send your own books to UKIP, whose address can be found here. You can support Bookmarks and Gay’s The Word, shops targeted in recent attacks.

Free speech & the law: “Hate Speech” & Non-Discrimination

Although there is no single “hate speech law” in the UK, nor any agreed international definition of the term, a number of laws forbid hatred or discrimination against individuals or groups, which can include things people say, based on colour, race, ethnicity and nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.

Free speech & the law: Child Protection

Child protection is a sensitive area of law and a deserved focus of public concern. As there is no clear legal definition of the concept of indecency, and because of the sensitivity of the matter, decisions made by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can be subjective and inconsistent, and in the wrong context can seriously compromise freedom of expression rights.

Free speech & the law: Obscene Publications

It is nearly 300 years since bookseller Edmund Curll was convicted in 1727 on a charge of obscenity in an English court for his publication of the mildly pornographic Venus in the Cloister or The Nun in Her Smock. Obscenity was thereafter recognised as a crime under common law.

Free speech & the law: Public Order

Under the Human Rights Act 1998, police officers must respect people’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, Article 10 of the convention states that restrictions on people’s free expression rights may be justified on the grounds of preventing disorder or crime, protecting public safety and protecting the rights of others

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