The Humanist Society today renewed calls to repeal New Zealand’s outdated blasphemy law. The group cites the blasphemy investigation by Garda Síochána in Ireland against Stephen Fry as an example of how blasphemy laws are used to limit free speech and human rights.

New Zealand received a ranking of extreme in the 2016 Freedom of Thought Report, an annual survey on discrimination and persecution against non-religious people in countries around the world, due to the severity of the punishment for blasphemy including imprisonment that the law allows.

Sara Passmore, president of the Humanist Society, says, “New Zealand has to abolish its blasphemy law before it is used to censor, suppress, and silence public debate. We want to increase social cohesion and understanding, and by protecting one set of ideas from critique we are closing the door on free speech, free inquiry and public debate.”

“This investigation into a TV interview with Stephen Fry is evidence that blasphemy laws restrict free speech and have no place in our society. Countries around the world are repealing blasphemy laws and it is time New Zealand followed the international trend. And now that the investigation has been dropped because the Irish police have failed to find ‘enough outraged people’ it is clear that any blasphemy law has no place in modern society.

For further information please contact Sara Passmore, President, New Zealand Humanist Society on 022 4356 117 or [email protected]

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Further information about international action on blasphemy laws