European Court of Human Rights Upholds Fine Against Austrian Woman: Contextualizing A Free Speech ConvictionBy: Andrew Elliott
The ECtHR recently upheld the conviction of an Austrian woman under the country’s blasphemy law for statements she made accusing the Prophet Muhammad of pedophilia. Growing global anxiety over international organizations, and the Austrian law’s tension with free speech ideologies, made the decision a ready-made launching pad for political diatribe. Despite some outcry, the ECtHR’s decision seems unlikely to spark a wave of blasphemy convictions, either in Austria or elsewhere in Europe. While Austria’s criminalization of inciting “justified indignation” may be overly broad, it is not clear that the ECtHR’s decision will embolden blasphemy law proponents, and it does not appear to reshape the legal framework currently in place.