Friday, January 14, 2005

Salman Rushdie and Others Fear British Censorship

After 200 British writers from a variety of religious backgrounds, including Salman Rushie, Monica Ali, Zadie Smith and others, signed a letter expressing concern over new British legislation designed to prevent religious hatred. Their concern is that the legislation will smother artistic freedom. Now The Home Office has agreed to meet with them.

From The Guardian:

Their concerns have been fuelled by the recent demonstrations over the play Bezhti, by a Sikh writer, which was cancelled at a Birmingham theatre after a riot by Sikh protesters and by the demonstrations prompted by the showing of Jerry Springer the Opera on BBC2 at the weekend. Christian groups attacked the show as "blasphemous" and it drew around 50,000 complaints.

In the letter to Mr Clarke, the writers said that the legislation would "make it illegal to express what some might consider to be provocative views on religion". It could, they say, serve as a "sanction for censorship of a kind which would constrain writers and impoverish cultural life".

Get the whole story here.