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Monday, August 08, 2011

Imagine if Israel had a law like this

Can you imagine the New York Times being so respectful if Israel had a law like this on the books?
The international edition of the Daily Show, a weekly compilation of the best clips from Jon Stewart’s news satire program, did not air in Britain two weeks ago, as has been well-documented by the blog Mediaite.

Perplexed viewers, seeking answers, quickly found that the apparent programming error was in fact an act of censorship required by a British law, which prevents the use of footage of Parliament for satirical purposes.

In this case, the footage was used as part of a segment in which Mr. Stewart praised the back-and-forth debate that occurred in Parliament between members and Prime Minister David Cameron over the widening British phone hacking scandal. “England is awesome,” Mr. Stewart said after watching the clips in question.


But as a blog at the British magazine the New Statesman explained, “no extracts from parliamentary proceedings may be used in comedy shows or other light entertainment, such as political satire.”

And on Friday, an electronic petition — “Satire for the House of Commons” — was filed with the British government to change the law.
This petition aims to influence the Government to change the law allowing for images and sounds from any House of Commons debate to be used in a comedic and satirical manner. Currently, the law stipulates that such images and sounds cannot be used. Comedy and satire are increasingly becoming mainstream methods to express dissatisfaction with various policies, and it is a poor expression of the democratic right for the freedoms of speech and expression that this law is in place.
As of Friday afternoon, the idea had attracted 70 signatures from British citizens who evidently would like to see their representatives mocked with fewer restrictions.
In Israel, we actually do have a law that makes it a crime to be disrespectful to a public servant. Of course, given that one third of the country are public servants.....

But please don't tell the Times anyway.

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