n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The Mohammed cartoons, freedom of expression and the infringement of the right to religious dignity : aantekeninge

Volume 2007, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



The cartoons published in Europe depicting the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist, among other things, sparked an unforeseen controversy and led to riots and violent protests by Muslims the world over. This has led once again to the question what is the scope of the right to freedom of expression, in particular the freedom of the press and the media, where are the boundaries of the right, and what happens when freedom of expression comes into conflict with other rights, in this particular case, the right to freedom of religion. When constitutional rights clash, they must be weighed in terms of the limitation provisions of the constitution to determine which should prevail, and to what extent, in the particular circumstances of each case. One may feel on religious, moral or ethical grounds that to blatantly insult or denigrate the beliefs of others violates their dignity as human beings who enjoy the capacity and freedom to believe and cherish in accordance with their insights and conscience. But this discernment must be justified in terms of the constitution before one can assert that expression insulting to people's deepest held convictions is unlawful.

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