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    Monday, 23 April 2007

    'A kind of touchy-feely D-notice': Lawson on the desire not to offend

    MediaGuardian has an article by Mark Lawson on recent decisions to postpone the airing of the drama Mark of Cain and a reading of the short story Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi. It an excellent discussion, and one better read than paraphrased.

    That said, Lawson offers some insightful comments that are worth pulling out: he describes the desire not to offend as "sentimental rather than punitive censorship, but [notes that] it has the same effect of silencing writers"; argues that "surely fiction has as much right to explore such terrible contemporary phenomena as journalism has to report them", and that "fiction should not be penalised for understanding fact". Its powerful stuff. There's also some interesting comment following the article (including a thesis based on the work of Robert Pirsig).

    2 comments:

    Andrew Scott said...

    There's also a similar, if more widely focused, article by Brendan O'Neill on the theme of subtle infringements of freedom of expression on Sp!ked. It highlights the pathologisation of certain viewpoints, and the corollary that the holders of such viewed can be 'treated', a la Orwell's Room 101.

    Andrew Scott said...

    See also the piece in Sp!ked on Neil Addison, the author of Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law and campaigner against the Racial And Religious Hatred Act 2006.

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