[Wikipedia-l] German anti-free speech law and Helga

Jens Frank JeLuF at gmx.de
Mon Aug 26 20:36:32 UTC 2002

On Mon, Aug 26, 2002 at 09:41:25AM -0700, lcrocker at nupedia.com wrote:
> > The law considers denying of the holocaust as an insultation
> > of the dead. Insulting someone is not protected by the right
> > of free speech, AFAIK that's the same in the US.
> No, it's not.  Insults are speech too, and often hig art.
> We protect them too, and rightly so.  As our supreme court
> said said, "If freedom means anything at all, it means
> freedom for the thought we hate."

So I might say "You are an asshole" and you couldn't sue
me for it in the US? Than our legal system has quite other
priorities than yours. The German constitution begins
with the words:

	Die Wuerde des Menschen ist unantastbar.

Meaning something like:

	The dignity of man is inviolable.

( from http://library.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/germ/ggeng.html )

Freedom of Speech has to subordinate to this
principle. It's guaranteed in article 5 of the
Basic Law. N.B. 5(2):

(2) These rights are limited by the provisions of the general
    laws, the provisions of law for the protection of youth and
    by the right to inviolability of personal honor.

There was a very interesting process
some years ago between a soldier and a pacifist
who has said "Soldiers are murderers". The 
decision of the court was: If you say it as a
general statement targeting more to "war" than
to a specific man, it's protected by the right
of free speech. If you say it to the face of
an soldier, meaning him personally, than it's
an insultation and violating the soldiers
dignity. The pacifist won the case since it
was a sticker on his car and therefor not
intended to a specific soldier.

(I think we're becomming off topic, but it's
an interesting difference between the US and
Germany I wasn't aware of)

Best regards,


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