free speech

The Arbiters Of Free Speech

BbO2_l7CYAAiArR.jpg largePeople steal or misattribute good lines to people they like or want to lionise, it happens.

“I disagree with what you say sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” has been attributed to many people, but is most commonly thought to have been said by Voltaire.

It was probably however by his biographer, who was describing what Voltaire’s point was, though some have tried to steal it to say it was something by one of the people who made the Constitution of the USA.

Whoever said it, it is a good and important concept. We can argue all day about the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre and so on, but whichever side of that argument you fall on, the problem comes in when you start to think about who should be the arbiters of what is and isn’t fair play.

And again, wherever you stand on the argument, the arbiters sure as fuck shouldn’t be UEFA.

Obviously as a Celtic supporter I’ve got a bone to pick with UEFA with all this and that is why it was nice to see Greenpeace pissing them off (again) by annoying one of their big sponsors.

This is just a little taster of a larger article I’d like to write on this topic and the teaser question is simply this…

You may or may not agree that there should be limits to free speech. People tend to move along a spectrum on that one.

Whatever your opinion, what the fuck have UEFA (or FIFA or the IOC for that matter) got to do with deciding for anyone what they can and can’t say?

Silencing The Redundant

I think I only follow one footballer on Twitter and he is an ex-Celtic player so this isn’t anything that is likely to affect me too much but I am always uneasy about headlines like this…

Premier League issues social networking guidance for players

The Premier League has drawn up guidelines for players about how to use social media. 

They offer advice on the endorsement of brands, goods and services and also warn players not to reveal confidential information about team matters.

I don’t like things like this because even though they say “guidelines” and not “rules” or “laws”, it still seems that people are being told what they can and cannot say. Transgressors of the guidelines are likely to be punished.

Although I personally might not want to follow too many players (though I do follow a lot of fan media) that is beside the point.  These guidelines are still a little whittling away of free speech at the margins, and the fact it is done so publicly normalises the little loss too.

I am sure there have been “guidelines” given to olympic athletes about what they can and cannot say as well.