U.N. chief says anti-Islam filmmaker abused freedom of expression

UNITED NATIONS Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:42pm EDT

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern September 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pascal Lauener

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday the maker of an anti-Islam film that triggered violent protests across the Muslim world abused his right to freedom of expression by making the movie, which he called a "disgraceful and shameful act."

The film, posted on the Internet under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims," mocked the Prophet Mohammad and portrayed him as a womanizer and a fool.

It sparked days of deadly anti-American violence in many Muslim countries, including an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Libya in which the U.S. ambassador died.

"Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose," Ban told a news conference.

"When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way."

"My position is that freedom of expression, while it is a fundamental right and privilege, should not be abused by such people, by such a disgraceful and shameful act," he said.

A California man convicted of bank fraud was taken in for questioning on Saturday by U.S. authorities investigating possible probation violations stemming from the making of the video. He has denied involvement in the film and has now gone into hiding.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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Comments (22)
DCA331 wrote:
Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, which includes the right to make fun of people whether they’re cultural icons or the leader of your country. Limiting freedom of expression for any reason is unacceptable.

Sep 19, 2012 5:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Cicero-CA wrote:
Perhaps Ban Ki-moon should also ban Monty Python’s “the Life of Brian” which made serious fun with Christianity – yet, there were no protesters at the British embassies demanding blood.

Sep 19, 2012 5:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dualcitizen wrote:
Exactly Cicero, christians are villified and mocked and invectives hurled on comment boards in a truly distasteful and shameful fashion and you don’t see us beheading people or attacking embassies because of it. Yet, somehow, it’s our fault, not the murderous barbarians.

Sep 19, 2012 5:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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