Following reactions to Fitna, another thought on intent and incitement. Both sides of this controversy are now media saavy enough to predict effects – Fitna producer Wilders that it would spark an outcry among Muslims; Islamic communities in both warning against overreacting, and pushing forward protest notes to the Dutch government. Question is whether other effects are being managed. Scattered reports of demonstrations, including a few hundred in Pakistan, but thus far, at least in the English language press, little evidence of counter-incitement, though still looking for that. See this LA Times article.

Also worth noting that the UN and others charge the film with incitement, consistent with a strong stance on other forms of potential hate speech elsewhere (will get to the UN on hate speech later). Ban Ki Moon statement says: “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the airing of Geert Wilders’ offensively anti-Islamic film. There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here. I acknowledge the efforts of the Government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of this film, and appeal for calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.”

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