Futile censorship

Sunday, July 22, 2007 at 19:51 | Posted in absurd, censorship, Freedom of speech, internet, Journalism, Legal, Press freedom | Leave a comment

A court order in Spain issued by judge Juan del Olmo triggered a police operation to impose a seizure of all copies of the Spanish weekly satirical magazine El Jueves. The El Jueves web site has been down all weekend but I do not know if this is connected with the seizure. Judge del Olmo ruled that this caricature featuring Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia “struck at the honour and the dignity of the people represented”:

In the text the Crown Prince, while banging his wife, says that if she becomes pregnant, it would be the closest to work he will ever have been during his life. The statement makes fun about the Spanish government’s plan to fight declining birth rate by paying 2500 € to parents of every fresh born baby. El Jueves is known for their republican sympathies.

Insulting the Royal Family is prosecutable in Spain. While judge del Olmo obviously had no choice but to grant the court order, I wonder if he and the prosecutors seeking the seizure realize that in this day and age, trying to censor something, especially something which is witty and funny, is bound to backfire. This is the most certain way to guarantee that the cartoon is going to be spread far beyond the boarders of Spain while the printed copies would probably have been forgotten within a week without these futile attempts of censorship.

As the Spanis paper El Mundo puts it:

“The picture, which had been seen by thousands of people, was posted on numerous Web sites in Spain and abroad and will now have been seen by tens of millions of people. Not even the Crown’s worst enemy could have had that effect.”

Sources: The Ink Blog, Aftermath News and Helsingin Sanomat

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