Speeches, freedom of expression and fundamental rights

“There has been some loss in the international consensus on what human rights are.” “In five years we have seen an explosion of the repression of free speech.” The two sentences are by Carles Torner, until recently executive director of the International PEN Club, and correspond to the interview opened by the Culture section. Torner can provide the world overview that gives him the position he has held for seven years, especially on freedom of expression and the serious problems that many writers have. But not only. He has encountered a widespread outburst that pushes back fundamental rights, and the zero moment of which he places in Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory.

Beyond the exact moment and the character, the key is when the ultra, extremist and reductionist discourse accesses power or quotas of power, or – which is no less – when there is a partial assumption of this discourse by ‘an aspirant to power, even if only to use it to gain access to it. Vox examples would be the first case; the party leading the ruling coalition in Poland, First Justice, Viktor Orbán’s Hungarian Fidesz and Matteo Salvini’s Lega, among others. As for the second, in reality there are not a few parties or political leaders who have flirted with positions more typical of the extremes, especially in immigration or territoriality. The PP of Casado and Díaz Ayuso does it, Boris Johnson does it, the Austrian Sebastian Kurz has done it until he has resigned investigated for corruption.

The discourse, the argument, may be more or less sweetened, it may or may not have passed through the hands of experts to adjust the black on white and to find the precise words and avoid the unnecessary. But in any case it generates a climate in which the most radical groups feel unpunished and legitimized, in the first instance to exhibit themselves and, over time, to begin to intimidate.

Three weeks ago we saw a Nazi demonstration – with unmistakable cries of “Sieg Heil”- who was camping in the Madrid neighborhood of Chueca trying to intimidate and threaten the LGTBI community, convened by groups that should have made the nose of any person responsible for, at least once authorized, move a couple of kilometers.

And on Saturday one more step could be observed. Protests against vaccination were called in Rome. Taking advantage of the context, groups of neo-fascists from Forza Nuova threw rockets and smoke canisters at the government headquarters, the Chigi Palace, and then stormed a hospital and the headquarters of the main Italian union, the CGIL.

These are two examples of a crescendo that should not leave us indifferent as a society. Immigration, economic crises and, now also, the pandemic, end up straining societies. And in tension the ultras multiply; they did it years ago in football and they do it now in more areas. Everyone plays with free speech, everyone makes a tailor-made dress. The task of societies is to see which discourses invite reflection and which only to reaction.

Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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