How Do Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Expression Coexist in Europe?
In Paris, France on 15 and 16 June 2015, KAICIID held the European Media Forum on the universal human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of expression, which gathered European religious leaders, journalists, as well as civil society organisations. This forum is part of the implementation of the Vienna Declaration “United against Violence in the Name of Religion”, which was adopted in November 2014 and was followed up by the May 2015 conferences Beirut on preserving religious and cultural diversity in Syria and Iraq. The participants agreed that closer relations between journalists and religious communities increase the media’s religious awareness and the religious leader’s media awareness. Cooperative working relationships and shared understandings of the mindful exercise of universal rights will help both media and religious leaders proactively counteract hate speech and discrimination by fostering empathy for people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds.
“I ask myself how much we can learn from the profound changes that are transforming the world and that seem to have erected an insurmountable dividing wall between freedom of belief and freedom of expression. The question of “blasphemy” or “offending religious sensibilities” has crystallised the conflict between these two notions of freedom.”
Closing Press Release / English / French