JONATHAN TURLEY

We have been discussing the roll back on free speech rights in Germany and the recent controversy over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. The crackdown on comedian Jan Boehmermann has shocked many the West. Despite the global condemnations of Merkel and her government in its yielding to Erdogan, there is at least one German judge who shows the same Merkelian disregard for free speech.  A court in Hamburg banned Boehmermann from publicly reading his poem.  Indeed, the court ruled that only six lines of the 24-line poem could be recited.  It is an absurd case of prior restraint and a chilling example of how free speech is under attack in the West.

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