Free speech under pressure or action against inflammatory comments?

Ought we to be a mite concerned about protecting free speech from officious prosecutions, even when the comments are “obnoxious”, in the opinion of a district judge?  I hold no brief for Ruth Patterson’s “alleged” comments on Facebook which it’s customary not to repeat once someone is charged and for which she has apologised. This Derry case is a sign of changed times. Amazing to learn that a “youth” has been fined in Derry for making “ derogatory remarks” in Fahan St about the murdered policeman Ronan Kerr and Margaret Thatcher. He was unlucky enough to be overheard by a policeman.  I wonder how?  The Waterloo St pubs are nearby but that may not be relevant. What’s amazing is that a cop was actually present in Fahan St., a street sweeping down  to the heart of the Bogside and the Bloody Sunday memorial.  And fined for speaking ill of the late Iron Lady in that location?  Changed times indeed. Many people will of course be pleased to see  evidence that the PSNI are so busy upholding law and order.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.