After I wrote my post on the campaign by Hannah Weller for Parliament to restrict the publication of pictures of children I heard about the horrific and unjustifiable killings in Paris. I listened to a good debate on Radio 5 and on Channel 4 of the freedom of the express itself and in particular to satirise, ridicule, not respect or offend religion or others.
This gave me some pause for thought as to whether my view was right in relation to the balance between the privacy, and sometimes the security of children, and the freedom of the press to publish was right. This was because the freedom of the press is so important in a free society and people have been and are prepared to die expressing that freedom.
Firstly, life is sacred as recognised by Islam and most religions and it is not possible to see any justification for the killings at Charlie Hebdo.
Secondly, where 2 principles that are held dear in a society conflict the resolution of those 2 principles needs to be careful and thoughtful; it must not be resolved by killing. Sometimes a conflict will be resolved one way and sometimes in another.
Thirdly, the freedom of publication is not without limit and in particular if it clashes with another right and does not weigh heavier than that right it should not prevail but be restrained by injunction.
In an employment law context BA sought to stop an employee wearing a small discrete cross based on brand image but that did not outweigh the employee's right to express her religion. Crosses have been banned in workplaces where a health and safety argument applies to outweigh the right to express a religious belief.
I do not share a view that freedom of publication overrides anything else.
Like other politically motivated attacks, from 9/11 to the killing last May of four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels, the atrocity at Charlie Hebdo was despicable and indefensible. Among the first to condemn it was the French Council of the Muslim Faith, which termed it “a barbaric act against democracy and freedom of the press”.