388 people, including writers, journalists and artists, have signed a protest against Denmark’s proposed new legislation against “immoral treatment” of religious artefacts, which they say will be more extensive than previously thought.
Earlier in August, the Danish government presented a proposal to ban the “improper treatment of objects with religious significance for a religious community”. Now 388 signatories have signed a protest against the government’s proposal, which they point out has turned out to be more extensive than previously thought.
“If artistic and political acts are censored, the free exchange of opinion that takes place and is also disseminated through the press and media is restricted“, they write in an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Berlingske.
“Therefore, the government’s proposal is not only an attack on art, political speech and the free press, but an attack on our free, democratic society.”
It also points out that the proposal includes a ban on “unfair treatment” of all religious objects and symbols and does not only cover new acts. The legislation also instructs the Danish police to take measures to stop incidents that are about to take place, which the commentators argue could be in conflict with the Danish constitution, which states that “censorship and other preventive measures may never be introduced”.
“The proposal is NOT a surgically precise needle stick. The ban is an axe to the freedom of expression“, the authors write.
The Swedish government has previously announced that similar legislation is not relevant in Sweden, but last summer it decided to investigate possible changes to the Public Order Act. The aim is described as being to be able to refuse permission for a public gathering where, for example, a Koran is to be burned.