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Extreme Speech and Democracy$
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Ivan Hare and James Weinstein

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.001.0001

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Shouting Fire From the Nanny State to Heckler's Veto: the New Censorship and How to Counter It

Shouting Fire From the Nanny State to Heckler's Veto: the New Censorship and How to Counter It

Chapter:
(p.583) 29 Shouting Fire From the Nanny State to Heckler's Veto: the New Censorship and How to Counter It
Source:
Extreme Speech and Democracy
Author(s):

David Edgar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.003.0030

Nearly fifty years on from the Lady Chatterley's Lover trial and over forty years from the abolition of theatre censorship, the new threat to free speech in the story-telling arts comes not from the nanny state but from a public demanding the right to be protected from offensive images. Newspaper attacks on representations of wicked people and their acts — at a time when victims' rights are being vigorously asserted — have blurred the distinction between the real and the imagined, and contributed to a climate in which the value of storytelling is downgraded and free speech made vulnerable. Understanding why some groups want to assert their right not to be offended, it is argued that it is beneficial for minority groups to protect free speech and the rights of artists to free expression, even when their work deals with the extremes of human behaviour.

Keywords:   free speech, censorship, theatre, victims, Lady Chatterley's Lover, offensive images

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