The scariest thing

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_laws

One small step forward for large companies, one huge step backward for the constitution of the United States.

If this doesn't infringe on freedom of speech and other first amendment rights, I'm insane. I'm most concerned about this issue.

Edit:
http://www.change.org/petitions/change-food-libel-laws-to-allow-us-to-know-the-truth-about-our-food
This is pitiful. Does nobody care?
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False statement of fact is not protected by the constitution, is it?
Does freedom of speech not allow us to say whatever we want without consequence? I'm not talking about when you're under oath.
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closed account (3qX21hU5)
Sure you can say whatever you want but there will always be consequences... Would you walk up to a 6 foot 10 inch 320 pound football player and say the worse things you could come up with and not expect there to be consequences like getting your ass kicked?

Does freedom of speech not allow us to say whatever we want without consequence?
No, you will have common law exceptions that restrict somethings. Obscenity, incitement, defamation, etc.

It is a common misconception, here in the UK, that Freedom of expression gives then the right to say anything.
I'm pretty sure freedom of speech laws only protect you from prosecution, not from being sued.

[edit] And in the UK, we don't even have that.
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The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law

I should have said it doesn't protect you from prosecution in all cases. People have been prosecuted for saying things in this country, and I think that's wrong. Freedom of speech shouldn't protect you from consequences, but it should protect you from prosecution by the government.
People have been prosecuted for saying things in this country, and I think that's wrong.
have you got an example of this?
Plenty, there have been a bunch of people prosecuted for posting offensive comments on social media sites recently. This article mentions them, and also says that they're changing it so that it doesn't happen any more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19910865
Well, they broke a law* and got prosecuted for it. While I appreciate the need to review the threshold at which the law should be prosecuted I think that it is correct that certain laws supersede free speach.

* the article doesn't say what law was broken so I can't comment on anything specific.
It depends; IMO, things like harassment shouldn't be protected under freedom of speech, because there it isn't the speech that's the problem. But posting offensive comments, while the mark of an asshole, shouldn't be a prosecutable offence. It seems to me like that's what they were prosecuted for - for giving an offensive opinion. Being able to speak your mind without fear of prosecution is the whole point of freedom of speech laws. Otherwise, it isn't really freedom of speech, but freedom of certain kinds of speech. The problem with that is that it's the government who gets to decide which kinds of speech are free and which aren't. That means that it's within the government's power to make criticising them illegal, which is what freedom of speech laws are designed to prevent.
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Freedom of speech does not mean you can say whatever you want*. The right to free speech means that you are protected against prosecution, imprisonment, etc for non-defamatory criticism/language voicing your opinions and ideas -- even if other parties disagree with you.

So, for example, saying that I think the U.S. President's policies are moronic (or not) is protected speech. No one from the government is going to show up at my door in the middle of the night and make me disappear.

However, saying that he raped my little sister last week is not, as that would be a lie that (unjustly) defames his character.


I think that the food industry is too big, too powerful, and does not have our personal well-being a priority. But the knife cuts both ways. When you start scaring people away from your business with hype, that's a problem.


*Current Supreme Court stance is that if you say it is your opinion you can say whatever you want, though. Alas for sanity.
I found one was charged with breaching Section 27 of Malicious Communications Act.

Being able to speak your mind without fear of prosecution is the whole point of freedom of speech laws.
Taking that to its logical conclusion, you could have a group of terrorists planing an attack freely and openly and not be able to prosecute then.

The problem with that is that it's the government who gets to decide which kinds of speech are free and which aren't.
No, Parliament would.
@Duoas
Yeah, that makes sense. Like I said though, I would be fine with it if the President sued you for slander/libel if you said/wrote that, just not if you were prosecuted for it.

Grey Wolf wrote:
Taking that to its logical conclusion, you could have a group of terrorists planing an attack freely and openly and not be able to prosecute then.

Planning an attack and speaking your mind are different things. "I'm going to blow up parliament" and "I wish someone would blow up parliament" are different. Of course, then I guess those terrorists could just say "We hope someone blows up parliament. We would particularly enjoy it if it were done in this specific way. Especially if it were done by us. We would really like that". I guess you have to draw a line somewhere.

Grey Wolf wrote:
No, Parliament would.

But... that... that is the government.
chrisname wrote:
But... that... that is the government.

Parliament is the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Monarchy. Parliament is responsible for our constitution and laws not the government.

chrisname wrote:
I guess you have to draw a line somewhere.
I think Article 10 draws that line neatly...but I do wonder if there could be a better way of disseminating 'the law' rather than show trials and media sound bites.
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closed account (iw0XoG1T)
Parliament is the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Monarchy. Parliament is responsible for our constitution and laws not the government.


Would someone mind elaborating for a US citizen? Parliament is not a government entity?
That's an interesting distinction. From an (uninformed) American point of view, it's all government.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/government includes in its definitions:
5.  a. the particular group of persons forming the cabinet at any given time:
       The Prime Minister has formed a new government.
    b. the parliament along with the cabinet: The government has fallen. 

Many of the dictionaries don't include b. But, I don't have anything to contribute -- just made me curious about the usage.
@chrisname
Prosecution includes being the target of a lawsuit.

@chrisname, Grey Wolf
Speech that is designed to cause harm is not protected. Remember, a lot of this stuff falls under the principles of benevolent pragmatism.

@chwsks
To the UK citizen's mind, no. Remember, we specifically designed our government to reflect on what we perceived as flaws in the extant governmental systems of Western Europe, particularly the UK.

To us, the government is designed with a system of "checks and balances" where the three separate branches guard each other and work together to provide representation and governmental services, and to protect its proper structure and function.

The Parliamentary system was not derived that way, but has evolved over time.

Using our terms, the Parliament is the Legislative branch. That which constitutes the Executive branch is what the UK citizen considers "government". In other words, the executive agencies which are tasked with actually implementing the law are the governmental body, whereas the legislative ministers are only tasked with maintaining the law.

Another significant difference is that the governmental bodies are directly accountable to the higher Parliamentary bodies. (In our system there is a more reciprocal accountability.)

Hope this makes sense...
In the UK, when it comes to elections we vote for who we want (from our local area) to represent us in the House of Commons (I believe that this is similar to the house of representatives in the US) this is meant to represent the peoples voice in parliament. If any one or a coalition of parties gets a majority of seats in the house, the leader of the party is asked to form a government.

The government is the Prime Minister (akin the the President) a Cabinet of 21 Ministers (I think they plan policy) and 99 other ministers (oversee various civil service departments) Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister from the members of the House of Commons and House of Lords. They are responsible for the actions, successes and failures of their departments.

So the Government is a sort of steering committee for Parliament.
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