Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan
|Title||Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan|
|Author(s)||Mehmood, Sadia, Kashif Ghani Syed|
|Keywords||Blasphemy, Objectivity of News, Subjectivity in News, Sources of Information, Print Journalism|
|Chicago 16th||Mehmood, Sadia, Kashif Ghani Syed. "Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan." Grassroots 53, no. 1 (2019).|
|APA 6th||Mehmood, S., Syed, K. G. (2019). Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan. Grassroots, 53(1).|
|MHRA||Mehmood, Sadia, Kashif Ghani Syed. 2019. 'Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan', Grassroots, 53.|
|MLA||Mehmood, Sadia, Kashif Ghani Syed. "Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan." Grassroots 53.1 (2019). Print.|
|Harvard||MEHMOOD, S., SYED, K. G. 2019. Untamed Subjectivity upon Blasphemy: Comparative Subjectivity of the National and International English and National Urdu Print Media upon Reporting a Blasphemy Case in Pakistan. Grassroots, 53.|
Objectivity of news have always been a debate, even the trusted source of information, the newspapers are not ‘clean’ so to say. Contrary to the codes of neat journalism, news reports are often found reflecting ideological, economic, regional, religious and pre-determined viewpoints. In the current study the researcher has purposely picked the blasphemy case of Aasiya Bibi from year 2010 involving Salman Taseer (late), then the Governor of Punjab and Mumtaz Qadri (late) the member of elite police force who shot Mr.Taseer and was later hanged in 2016. The researcher analyzed level of subjectivity in the news stories and editorial of two international and three national newspapers, The Guardian, The New York Time and The Dawn, Daily Jang and the Daily Express respectively. Through the scientific method of analyzing the content it is observed that in such cases, even the pioneers of print medium and the self-proclaimed champions of the codes of journalism are found overwhelmingly subjective.
Five thousand years old mankind history drastically changed only just recently. Thanks to industrialization and globalization or westernization more relevantly, it took less than 300 years to make this gigantic leap. While, the Europe and the USA were setting benchmarks and steppingstones, news about rapid development reached the world through mass media. Arts and science flourished and proliferated across the globe via print, audio-video and digital media. Theorists and social scientists followed overwhelming effects mass media years later. Content and reach are two chief components of mass media, whereas, the matter is sometimes only a perception of an individual, group or a society about an event or an idea, however. It may vary from person to person and society to society.
Print media, till date, is considered the most reliable and authentic source of information for the masses. How objective is it, however, remains a question. Why is that different newspaper having different views about an incident, idea or a personality? The fact that same incidents are reported with stark differences and from extreme point of views, leads an investigator to a sense that objectivity as defined by codes of journalism is perhaps often mingled and subsided. Subsequently, a number of internal and external influences on news content cause subjectivity. Some of the chief influences include the mind-set of the owners, influence of corporate world, influence of government and influence of popular ideology of the readers.
The topic of someone killing someone else over an issue of blasphemy is not new to the world Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. As we will learn in the following sections that blasphemy laws prevails in almost all the countries of the world and people had been committing blasphemy, held accused and punished. Whereas, the blasphemy law stands in almost all the countries, if such a case occurs in Pakistan it somehow becomes the biggest news for the world especially India, USA and Europe.
After the case of Ghazi Ilm Din before partition, perhaps the case of blasphemy by Aasiya Bibi, role of the governor of Punjab Mr.Salman Taseer in the case and then the killing of the Governor, verdicts of the court, hanging of Mr. Mumtaz Qadri and release of Aasiya is the most dynamic, unique and controversial Blasphemy case of the modern times. The incident from the start was given international coverage and follow up.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Upon these observations the researcher wishes to deconstruct media content using quantitative and qualitative research methods. The objective is to seek a clear picture of what is said in the written content, what is highlighted, what is emphasized, something important that is missed, how the news material is presented, how facts are being presented and mixed with personal opinions and fiction and what are underlining meanings of lines that written in papers. If not taken care of these factors add subjectivity to content and adversely affect the fundamental principles of journalism, objectivity.
Through the findings, the researcher wishes to contribute useful data for others to see how media reacts, responds and presented views in shape of news. It must also be noted that media content analysis relies heavily upon researcher interpretation. Mass media analysis may also not correspond to the interpretation of other researchers. At best it’s an attempt to deconstruct written content of a few newspapers that can lead to new way of looking at presented news. For the purpose the researcher has conveniently chosen news Story and editorial content of The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (UK), The Dawn News (English), Daily Jang (Urdu) and Express Newspapers (Urdu).
A blasphemy law is a law dealing with irreverence towards holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, or beliefs. In the past blasphemy laws protected the majority religion within a jurisdiction from irreverence but there is now a trend to repeal all blasphemy and religious offence laws. National and international experts and bodies looking at human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, and violence based on religion or belief have consistently found that blasphemy laws conflict with freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression, and with international laws. Examining the suggestion that blasphemy law might protect all religions equally the experts have found the suggestion to be impracticable and in conflict with freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression, and with international laws.
In addition to prohibitions against blasphemy or blasphemous libel, blasphemy laws include all laws which give redress to those who feel insulted on account of their religion. These blasphemy laws may forbid: the vilification of religion, "religious insults", defamation of religion, denigration of religion, offending religious feelings, or the contempt of religion. In some jurisdictions, blasphemy laws include hate speech laws that extend beyond prohibiting the imminent incitement of hatred and violence.
HISTORY OF BLASPHEMY LAW AND CASES IN PAKISTAN
The Blasphemy Law in the Constitution of Pakistan, 295-C – Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWW) (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine”.
The law prescribes a fixed death penalty for all those who are found guilty. The option of life imprisonment was made defunct after a 1991 Federal Shariat Court judgment.
The Pakistan Penal Code prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. From 1987 to 2014, over 1,300 people have been accused of blasphemy, Muslims constitute the majority of those booked under these laws.
The law can be inappropriately used in order to gain certain advantage by raising a false accusation of blasphemy as investigative structure is quite weak. Critics complain that Pakistan's blasphemy law is extensively being used to persecute religious minorities and settle personal vendettas. Pakistan's laws became particularly strong between 1980 and 1986, when a number of clauses were added to the laws during that era. Prior to 1986, only 14 cases pertaining to blasphemy were reported. Since then, however, an estimated number of 1,274 people have been charged under the stringent blasphemy laws of Pakistan.
Blasphemy is an enormously sensitive charge in Pakistan, and a criminal offence that can carry the death penalty. While the state has never executed anyone under blasphemy laws, mere allegations have prompted mob violence and lynching. Since 1990 vigilantes have been accused of murdering 65 people tied to blasphemy. ( https://www. theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/07/mashal-khan-death-sentence-for-pakistan-blasphemy-murder)
AASIYA BIBI CASE – THE AGGRAVATION OF THE ISSUE
To understand Salman Taseer’s Murder Case we must understand the preceding incident of Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy case. The Aasiya Bibi blasphemy case involves a Pakistani woman, Aasiya Noreen born in 1971 convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging in 2010. In June 2009, Noreen was involved in an argument with other women with whom she had been harvesting berries upon an issue of drinking water. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad, a charge she denies, and was arrested and imprisoned. In November 2010, a Sheikhupura judge sentenced her to death. If the execution had taken place, Noreen would had been the first person to be execute under blasphemy law and also the first woman to be hang by a Pakistani court.
Aasiya Noreen was born and raised in Ittan Wali, a small, rural village in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab, Pakistan, sixty kilometers outside of Lahore. Noreen, like other Christians in the district, and elsewhere in Pakistan, usually has lower education and fills lower class occupations such as cleaners and sweepers. Noreen, who is a Roman Catholic, worked as a farmhand in Sheikhupura.
In June 2009, Noreen was harvesting falsa berries with a group of other farmhands in a field in Sheikhupura. She was asked at one point to fetch water from a nearby well; she complied but stopped to take a drink with an old metal cup she had found lying next to the well. Historically, Christians of sub-continent were lower caste Hindus, like ‘Shudars’. These lower caste Hindus are still in large numbers in India and some in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Before Muslims came to Sub-Continent India was divided into caste system, even after at the time of British Raj, the caste system chiefly prevailed. Hindus converted to Islam over a period of 1,000 years included all the caste. Likewise, during the British Raj, Christians alike Muslims, condemn the caste system and supported lower caste Hindus. It is this time from 17-19 century that lower caste (and perhaps some middle caste) Hindus converted to Christianity. The biggest reason of this conversion seems to be the right to equal life.
It must be understood that a vast majority of Muslims and almost all of the Christians living in sub-continent were Hindus at one point in time, with strict, rigid caste system. A caste system so strong that higher class Hindus like Barhaman, Rajput will not even let lower caste Hindus to look at them, touch them, talk to them or even come close to them. This caste system is centuries old. Although, hundreds and thousands of Hindus converted to Muslims and Christianity but underneath remind centuries old behaviour. Just like in old times, majority of lowest caste Hindus converted to Christians are still in similar socio-economic structure as their ancestor, majority engaged as genitors, cleaners, gutter men and maids to clean up school, home, office washrooms. Likewise, Muslims converted from Hinduism are still somewhat attached to their old behaviors, where acceptance of lower classes (in this case, Christians) is a taboo.
Under same aged old Hindu values some Muslim women argued over a matter of drinking water or being served by Christian woman Aasiya Bibi. The village women reported that this was the time when Noreen made derogatory statement about Prophet Mohammad (SAWW). Even if true, one can sense share ignorance.
Later, some of the workers complained to a cleric that Noreen insulted Prophet Mohammad (SAWW). Noreen and her family were taken in the custody. The police initiated an investigation about her remarks; result in her arrest under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code. She subsequently was imprisoned for over a year before being formally charged.
INVOLVEMENT OF GOVERNOR OF PUNJAB IN AASIYA’S CASE
Mr. Salman Taseer (late) then the Governor of Punjab emerged as one of the high-profile supporters of Aasiya Bibi. He not only visited her in jail and held a press conference with her, but also promised to get a presidential pardon for her.
Although, the pardon was prevented by a court order and the PPP distanced itself from any attempt to amend the blasphemy law, Mr. Taseer kept criticizing it publicly on several media forums.
Involvement of Governor of Punjab is the case is not coincidence for several reasons. One, he is the governor of that same province, second he represents the ‘right hand side party’ that is secular and more liberal Pakistan People’s Party of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The party is rival of ‘left hand side party’ Muslim League Nawaz which shaped out of IJP a party hugely supported by Late General Zia-Ul-Haq, same person in whose regime Mr. Bhutto was hanged, therefore it is a kind of moral obligation of party representative to take a more mild approach towards the case of blasphemy. Thirdly, pressure of west, fourthly, the compromised state of the government itself and lastly Salman’s own perspective and views.
SALMAN TASEER’S MURDER
On 4 January 2011, one of Taseer's bodyguards, Malik Mumtaz Qadri (26) shot him in Islamabad. The next day, hundreds of people turned up for his funeral in Lahore. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and many supporters of the ruling PPP were seen attending the funeral prayer. The funeral prayers were finally led by Allama Afzal Chisti of the Ulema Wing of the PPP after the chief cleric of the Badshahi Mosque, who had initially agreed to offer prayers, backed off at the last moment, saying he was going out of town. Taseer was buried at a military cantonment in Lahore.
The assassin Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri was from Punjab, and was part of the security designated for Taseer. After the murder, more than 500 clerics voiced in favor of Qadriand urged a general boycott of Taseer's funeral. Supporters of Mumtaz Qadri blocked police attempting to bring him to the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi, and some supporters showered him with rose petals. On 1 October 2011, Qadri was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti-Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer. Qadri was executed on 29 February 2016.
In December 2018, the tables turned in favor of Aasiya Bibi, she was found not guilty and was released by the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Two related published researches are reviewed for in depth knowledge and references. Ms. Tabinda Sadiq (Assistant Professor at the Media Studies Department, Bahria University, Islamabad), titled: ‘Working under the shadow of Taboo & Blasphemy: Coverage of Minorities in Pakistani Press under the Blasphemy Law’. The research paper is published in Pakistan Edition of Global Media Journal of Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan Vol.IX, issue-II, Fall 2016 (http://www.aiou.edu.pk/sab/gmj/GMJ%20Fall%202016/08.pdf)
Ms. Tabinda has studies the controversial murder of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer which led to many questions on the role and responsibilities of Private media with reference to the blasphemy issues in Pakistan. The objective of her paper is to investigate the coverage given to issues of minorities, to highlight the sensitivity of blasphemy issues and to examine the media role in this contest.
In total 67 news stories from 2 leading English and 2 leading Urdu newspapers were taken over a period of one year, of which total 18 stories out of 67 were found anti-minorities, whereas a number of 35 stories showed a positive bend and 14 news stories were found being neutral. In general this research found that less coverage was given to minorities in the year. However, the results suggest that all the newspapers gave positive coverage to the minority groups.
Some of the findings related to my study includes relevant finding of her study:
Ms Tabinda concludes her finding as under: ‘In a nutshell, the print media of Pakistan acting as professionally as it should when it comes to portraying minority issues, especially blasphemy-related cases. Reporting on their social achievements and welfare goals is also very important in order to make them less, vulnerable to violence. News stories in which they are projected negatively, increasing the level of hatred for them should definitely be reported but in a subtle way. However, some news stories do portray them unfavorably, which keeps the situation diluted. Only if the print media starts giving wider coverage to them when it comes to positive aspects, the papers can do a lot in creating the much-needed harmony in the country.’
In another study conducted by Mustafa Khan [B.A. LL.B (Hons) 5th Year Candidate, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)], titled: ‘Demystifying Sacrilege: The Mumtaz Qadri Case’: Through Mr. Mustafa’s study we find a great deal of the whole case in term of actual proceedings beyond media trials. The study tactfully gives reader an in depth and clear understanding how the Supreme Court maneuvered the treacherous waters of the blasphemy law and the jurisprudence that surrounds it to deliver a skillfully crafted guilty verdict that left little question as to Qadri’s defense of grave and sudden provocation, and also undermined his claim to religious righteousness.
Mustafa concludes his study as follows: ‘The Mumtaz Qadri case marks an important point in the legal history of Pakistan. The court should be lauded for delivering a judgment, which as was obvious, would stir up anger in certain parts of society. By holding that the criticism of any law, even the blasphemy law, is well within the rights of every citizen and does not constitute blasphemy, the judgment, helps in opening the door to a more broad-based and open discussion regarding the issue of blasphemy. Furthermore, by accepting that the law has been used to settle personal scores, the judgment provides credence and legitimacy to calls for amendments to make abuse less likely. The judgment may mark a turning point in the unfortunate history of blasphemy laws in Pakistan and may be the catalyst for a change in the current state of affairs.’
Therefore, if conclusion of both the researches are closely studied it becomes clear that Pakistani print media has played an unbiased role as far as the coverage to minorities is concerned and also that it reported each and every case of blasphemy that occurred. And secondly the court proceedings regarding blasphemy cases are not affected by debates in media or general public.
- Analyze the pictorial content of selected newspapers on a subjectivity scale
- Analyze the pictorial content of selected newspapers on a subjectivity scale
- Compare the level of subjectivity of selected newspapers on the issue
Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis: For quantitative analysis Key Words in Context (KWIC) method is used, whereas by analyzing news stories and editorials qualitative perspective is built.
Defining the Universe and Data Sampling: The researchers have included the Daily Jang Urdu, Daily Express Urdu, Dawn English, The New York Times (USA) English and The Guardian (UK) English as the universe.
To sample out data the researcher has taken two approaches; English content is gathered from the internet while the content in Urdu is gathered from archive of physical newspapers. The reason behind two different searching ways is that the Urdu content cannot be searched over internet as the content itself is in form of images and not ‘strings’ as in case of English content. Since there are only 26 occurrence of this story in both the newspaper, the researcher has included all of these in the study.
English Newspaper content is searched from the Google. First three odd search results were selected to be included in the study. Furthermore, only the Stories and editorials published in January 2011 are used as sample, except of two news Stories one from the Guardian published on 12 March 2011 and one from the New York Times published on 22 November 2010 both of these qualify the sampling criteria.
Following strings were used to gather English Newspaper Content from Google.
|Newspaper||String for News Story||String for Editorial|
|The Guardian||News Story Salman Taseer Murder The Guardian||Editorial Salman Taseer Murder The Guardian|
|News Story Mumtaz Qadri The Guardian||Editorial Mumtaz Qadri The Guardian|
|Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy The Guardian||Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy Editorial The Guardian|
|The New York Times||News Story Salman Taseer Murder The New York Times||Editorial Salman Taseer Murder The New York Times|
|News Story Mumtaz Qadri The New York Times||Editorial Mumtaz Qadri The New York Times|
|Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy The New York Times||Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy Editorial The New York Times|
|The Dawn||News Story Salman Taseer Murder Dawn Newspaper’||Editorial Salman Taseer Murder Dawn Newspaper’|
|News Story Mumtaz Qadri Dawn Newspaper’||Editorial Mumtaz Qadri Dawn Newspaper’|
|Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy Dawn Newspaper||Aasiya Bibi Blasphemy Editorial Dawn Newspaper|
DATA PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
The data gathered against the analytical parameter regarding the subjectivity score from none too mild to high is collected and presented in tabular form. Different interpretation can be drawn from the collected data. Although, more content was analyzed, to keep the averages correct only one news story and one editorial is selected, however. Thereof, there are 2 items from each of five newspapers to drawn the following chart.
ANALYZED DATA IS ARRANGED IN A TABULAR FORMAT
FOR FURTHER INTERPRETATIONS
|Parameters||DAWN||NEW YORK TIMES||THE GUARDIAN||DAILY EXPRESS||DAILY JANG|
|Discussion on Judgment||0||0||0||1||0||2||0||0||0||0|
|Discussion on investigation||1||0||0||2||0||1||0||1||0||0|
|Opinions / Views||2||1||2||0||0||0||0|
|Debate on blasphemy||0||0||2||2||1||1||0||0||2||0|
|Criticism on blasphemy||0||0||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Involving Pakistan’s nukes||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
It can be seen that weighted subjectivity of English newspaper tends to be more than that of Urdu newspapers upon the issue. Worthy is to note presence of high levels of subjectivity in the news stories (Highlighted in yellow).
Surprisingly, subjectivity in the news story of the Dawn is more than any of the other four papers.
The following table (1.5) shows the combined mean subjectivity of English newspapers (Dawn, The Guardian and New York Times) and the combined mean subjectivity of Urdu newspapers (The Daily Jang and The Daily Express).
|Parameter||Mean subjectivity by category of English newspapers||Mean subjectivity by category of Urdu newspapers|
|Discussion on Judgment||1.00||0|
|Discussion on investigation||1.33||0.5|
|Opinions / Views||1.67||0|
|Debate on blasphemy||2.00||1|
|Criticism on blasphemy||1.33||0|
|Involving Pakistan’s nukes||1.33||0|
It is clear from the above table that weighted mean subjectivity of English newspapers was double of that of Urdu newspapers.
Violent words, religious discrimination, extreme viewpoints, suggestive words, generalization, conclusive words are freely used in English newspapers, whereas, violent pictures are openly shown in Urdu newspapers.
A noteworthy point is how editorial of Dawn and news story of The New York Times have highlighted and co-related the Pakistan’s nuclear program with the event. It is hard to imagine and develop a rational relation between the two, seemingly.
Graph 1.1 (Plotting of Table 1.5)
In the following table (1.6) subjectivity of each newspaper is shown. The table shows subjective values of news stories, editorials and combined subjective of the both, resulting in subjectivity of the newspaper as whole.
|Subjectivity percentage wise|
|The New York Times||50||71.43||60.71|
Looking at the above data representation, one is forced to admit that roles are meant to be broken. West and U.S. are the ones who have made rules, codes, ethics and moral values of journalism. Here seen freely neglecting any rules whatsoever. As a Pakistani, however, the bigger concerns are the subjective scores of Dawn and Jang.
Graph 1.2 (plotting table 1.6)
Much anticipated, editorial are more subjective than news stories. This is visible from the above graph (1.1). Surprisingly, news stories of the English newspapers are not far from editorials. Full of opinions are one sided arguments and even conclusive statements.
The assassination case of The Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer had an international attention. It was unique in many ways. Several questions raised regarding Blasphemy Laws, Constitution of Pakistan, and security condition in Pakistan, expression of freedom, the Pakistani Justice System and public sentiments. Politicians, religious leaders, social activities, philanthropist, self-proclaimed moderate prominent Muslims were asked to give their opinion and try to address confusion (if any) in public.
Event was seen as a window for the Western media to abundantly criticize rule of law in Pakistan and the Shariya Laws, the West bombarded and specifically curved its news angle to defame Islam.
Local media stood divided into several groups, some supported Governor, some support Qadri some went into silence and some were neutral. Closely reviewing the published reports of the case it is noticed that no one-point-agenda was found in local media no clear narrative was floated by the government either. The Pakistani electronic and print media was all in chaos.
However, on the other hand the western media was discipline and determined in its approach that is convergence on a one-point-agenda; exploit the situation, ridicule Islam and create distrust for Pakistan world over. Now remember, Pakistan’s English media had the similar taste as that of western media. Our local newspapers are viewed by only a fraction of public world over. Therefore, for the world and elite groups the only source of information were the international news agencies which have good deal of influence over decision makers and international public. Unfortunately, our media failed to put a national vision to the world, lack of responsibility, professionalism and vision fostered the negative image of Pakistan and Shaiya Laws. Do not miss out the fact that, despite the propaganda worldwide, no one has ever been executed by Government of Pakistan in a Blasphemy case till date.
Ironically, the governments of Pakistan, police, government prosecution and other authorities have miserably failed time and again to correctly account on such incidences so that innocents are not victimized or criminals live freely. Furthermore, the public don’t have to intervene and take law in their hands. It is sole responsibility of government(s) to find a solution to the problem, in order to avoid similar incidents in future and to provide absolute justice to its citizens.
Reviewer leaves the reader with a factual statement that ‘Mr.Taseer is dead and so is his killer, Aasiya awaited eight long years in prison for justice. Media as always has other bones to bark at, as for the rest of the nation, we have seen killing in the name of blasphemy even after Taseer’.
European Commission for Democracy through Law. 'Report on the Relationship between Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion: The issue of Regulation and Prosecution of blasphemy, religious insult, and incitement to religious hatred'. Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 76th Plenary Session at Venice, Italy, on 17–18 October 2008.
http://www.theweek.co.uk/84420/blasphemy-laws-around-the-world) (Original text: ACTS and LAWS of His Majesty's PROVINCE of the MASSACHUSETTS-BAY in NEW-ENGLAND Boston, in New-England, Printed by S. Kneeland by order of His Excellence the GOVERNOR, Council and House of Representatives. MDCCLIX (1759) (The Cooper Collection of U.S Historical Documents)
Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 5th October 2012.
World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2014 ISBN 978-92-3-100018-8 "In law reform, there has been a trend towards repeal of blasphemy and religious offence laws".