OSCE Representative welcomes decriminalization of blasphemy in Iceland
SARAJEVO, 3 July 2015 - OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today welcomed amendments passed by the Icelandic Parliament to decriminalize blasphemy.
“Blasphemy laws are incompatible with freedom of expression and freedom of religion,” Mijatović said. “Democracy requires the possibility to openly discuss and challenge every single idea, dogma or belief even if this discussion may be felt as shocking, disturbing or offensive.”
The bill that was passed yesterday repeals a provision in the penal code which made “ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community” an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three months.
In May Norway also put into effect legislation decriminalizing blasphemy.
“Iceland and Norway have clearly set examples to be followed by other OSCE participating States,” Mijatović said.
Mijatović is in Sarajevo on an official visit.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/169916
Gunnar Vrang, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
office: +43 1 51436 6602
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