More speech

オバマ大統領/国連総会演説『言論の自由』
米国, 2012年, バラク·オバマ

Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly last week was (probably) his final foreign-policy speech before the the American presidential election on November 6th.

FRANCE 24 reported it like this: “In a wide-ranging and hard-hitting speech at the UN Tuesday, President Barack Obama condemned the violence sparked by an amateur anti-Islam film while defending freedom of speech.”

His strong defence of free speech comes below at 11:55.

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Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.

We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities. We do so because, given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech – the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

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UPDATE: It later became clear that there was no connection between the amateur film and the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, which Obama talks about in this speech.

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