Norway removes insult clause from penal code

Norway removes insult clause from penal code
NORWAY -- In April this year the party SV proposed to remove a paragraph section from the Norwegian penal code, that foreign officials are protected from satire and insults.

The party asked the parliament to immediately remove §184a of the Penal Code.

§ 184. Violation of a foreign state
A fine or imprisonment of up to one year may be imposed on those in this country who violate a foreign state by
a) violence, or being threatening or insulting towards a representative of it, or..

It is this section that makes it a criminal offense to insult foreign heads of state or representatives of a state.

The reason for the proposal to allow insults of foreign state representatives, was what happened in Germany in the spring. There the German Foreign Ministry received a "diplomatic request" from Turkey, where they requested that the popular German comedian Jan Böhmermanner should be prosecuted.

The comedian had insulted Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by reading a satirical poem on television. He read the poem on the satire show Neo Magazin Royale in late March 2016, and deliberately insulted the Turkish president by using profane language.

The clause in the German penal code is similar to the one Norway now removes, that it is illegal to insult a foreign head of state or a member of a foreign government.

On Friday the proposal was processed in Parliament, where it received broad support.

The only thing is that the Norwegians may have to wait a little longer before they go crazy with the insults, as the proposed amendment is now at the Ministry of Justice, before it goes back to the parliament for final approval.

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