Jon Krause

La liberté d’expression en crise

LONDRES – Récemment, lors d’un festival littéraire en Grande-Bretagne, j’ai pris part à une table ronde sur la liberté d’expression. Pour toute personne progressiste, la liberté d’expression est un indice fondamental de la liberté. Les démocraties défendent la liberté d’expression ; les dictatures la répriment.

C’est un point de vue que nous, Occidentaux, défendons quand nous considérons le reste du monde. Nous condamnons les gouvernements qui réduisent au silence, emprisonnent, voire assassinent les écrivains et les journalistes. Reporters Sans Frontières en a dressé la liste : rien que cette année, 24 journalistes ont été tués et 148 jetés en prison. Une partie de la promesse que nous voyons dans le « printemps arabe » est l’affranchissement des médias de l’emprise des dictateurs.

Et pourtant, la liberté d’expression en Occident même est aujourd’hui mise à rude épreuve. La loi britannique impose traditionnellement deux restrictions au « droit à la liberté d’expression ». La première interdit l’usage de mots ou d’expressions pouvant troubler l’ordre public ; la seconde est la loi contre la diffamation. Les deux sont fondées – pour préserver la paix publique et pour protéger la réputation des particuliers contre le mensonge. La plupart des sociétés libres admettent que ces restrictions sont raisonnables et les acceptent.

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