LondonNet News Headlines
|Blackadder Goes Forth Against Censorship
- Atkinson 'aghast' at new-style 'blasphemy' law
COMEDIAN Rowan Atkinson has heavily criticised government plans to introduce a law banning 'incitement to religious hatred'.
"I am aghast at the notion that it could be made illegal to imply ridicule of a religion or to lampoon religious figures," Atkinson said.
Home Secretary David Blunkett sees the proposed law as a key part of the so-called anti-terrorist Bill that has been drawn up in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the US. It is designed to stop both a backlash against ordinary British Muslims and the calls for anti-Western violence evident in the speeches of some Jihad-Fundamentalists.
But Atkinson fears the law could be used by any religious group or individual to curtail artistic and comedic freedom of expression. "I have always believed that there should be no subject about which one cannot make jokes, religion included," said Atkinson.
The star of Mr Bean, Blackadder and Not the Nine O'Clock News cited Monty Python's Life of Brian as an example of the kind of comedy that could fall foul of the new censorship.