Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Freedom to insult or to help?

Continuing the New Zealand barny, here's a quote from the bishops' letter which seems well worth answering.
"Making known the extent of our offence might give them pause to consider that press freedom is not a licence to incite intolerance or to promote hatred or derision based on religion, race or gender."
Strong stuff. Enough to make any sane editor think twice about publishing a cartoon that shows a New Zealand bishop with a ring of corks dangling from his hat! (Actually, a colleague from New Zealand assures me that her country is nothing like Australia.)
So here's the answer. Find a copy of the World Health Organization publication The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders (1993) and look up Religiosity. That's a possum of a different colour. Responsible press freedom should include helping people to avoid mental illness. If this means artists lampooning religious eccentricities and giving us a mentally healthy chuckle into the bargain, then good on 'em, sport. (Whoops! That's Australia again. Sorry, New Zealand.)
P.S. Did you view CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this evening? Religiosity in a nutshell: 12 dead. Or was it 13? I lost count.


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