Jon Krause

La libertad de expresión asediada

LONDRES – Recientemente, en un festival literario celebrado en Gran Bretaña, me vi en una mesa redonda debatiendo sobre la libertad de expresión. Para los liberales, ésta es una señal decisiva de libertad. Las democracias permiten la libertad de expresión; las dictaduras la reprimen.

Cuando en Occidente miramos al exterior, ésa sigue siendo nuestra opinión. Condenamos a los gobiernos que silencian, encarcelan e incluso matan a escritores y periodistas. “Reporteros sin fronteras” mantiene una lista: tan sólo este año 24 periodistas han sido asesinados y 148 encarcelados. Parte de la promesa que vemos en la “primavera árabe” es la liberación de los medios de comunicación de la férula del dictador.

Sin embargo, la libertad de expresión en Occidente está sometida a presiones. Tradicionalmente, la legislación británica imponía dos limitaciones principales al “derecho a la libertad de expresión”. La primera prohibía la utilización de palabras o expresiones que pudieran alterar el orden público; la segunda era la ley contra el libelo. Hay dos argumentos válidos a favor de las dos: el de preservar la paz y el de proteger la reputación de las personas contra las mentiras. La mayoría de las sociedades libres aceptan semejantes límites por considerarlos razonables.

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