Group defamation, freedom of expression and international law
This dissertation is a study in the power of words to maim, and what a civilised society can do about it. Not every abuse of human communication can or should be controlled by the law or custom. But every society from time to time draws lines at the point where the intolerable and the permissible coincide. In a free society such as our own, where the privilege of speech can induce ideas that may change the very order itself, there is a bias weighted heavily in favour of the maximum of rhetoric whatever the cost and consequences. But that bias stops this side of injury to the community itself and to individual members of identifiable groups innocently caught in verbal crossfire that goes beyond legitimate debate. An effort is made herein to re-examme, therefore the parameters of permissible arguments in a world more easily persuaded than before because the means of transmission are so persuasive. But ours is a world aware of the perils of falsehood disguised as fact and of conspirators eroding the community's integrity through pretending that conspiracies from elsewhere now justify verbal assault- the nonfactors and the non-truths of prejudice and slander. Hate is as old as man and doubtless as durable. This report explores what it is the community can do to lessen some of man's intolerance and to proscribe its gross exploitation. A look at the ancient civilisation will illustrate that even in those ancient times the concept of Human Rights was given the due recognition that it deserved. The following trilogy will ascertain this fact.