Today’s march in Paris to show support for freedom of speech and the French people was notable for the presence of leaders whose countries lack freedom of the press and have even imprisoned critical journalists. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was included among those leaders whose governments have laws restricting the press.
The law governing blasphemy has been in the news since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, when it was invoked by Muslim community leader Ali Selim. Mr Selim said that any news outlet that printed cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad may be sued under the law. News and social media drew attention to Ireland’s law along with many other restrictions on journalism throughout the world.
The government has passed legislation clarifying blasphemy and imposing a fine of up to €25,000. The constitution contains a prohibition on blasphemy, but no case has ever been taken.