MA in International Journalism
Freedom of Expression
Comparing Freedom of Expression in the Statutory Law and the Sharia Law (Human Rights Act 1998 of The British law as an exemplar)
Dissertation Submitted for
The MA Degree in International Journalism
University of Westminster
Motasem Ahmed Dalloul
Copyright (2012), University of Westminster and Motasem Ahmed Dalloul
Getting in touch with media law during the first semester of my Masters gave me a sense of the importance of law in general because it consists of acts and articles which organise most issues in the human’s life in a way that protects ethics and morals. Regardless of the hypocrisy and double-standards of the countries which raise high the slogan of Human Rights, I liked the Human Rights Conventions that were laid down by these countries. Therefore, I decided to research some points in these conventions that are related to my study in order to nurture my knowledge in this great field of the human sciences. Then, I thought deliberately about the benefit of exerting much effort to get such knowledge since it is existed, well-explained and well-organised, in handy books. But after looking by historical and religious study as far back as some centuries ago, I found that my own culture, Islam, had plenty of law provisions that helped its people not only to protect their ethics and morals, but also to spread them all over the world. Through deliberate and objective study, I found that many of the social reformers, whose thoughts led to the emergence of the modern criteria of human rights, were originally affected by the roots of the Islamic culture. I also found a lot of those old and even modern reformers who praised the old provisions of the Sharia Law and they also praised the prosperity which was an outcome of implementing it. The Western writer Patricia Crone (2005: p. 218-219) said referring to how those old provisions of law were true bases of a moral society: “Medieval Muslims did not write utopias in the sense of imaginary travel accounts or other descriptions of ideal societies which do not exist, … they were not given to seeking ideals outside their own civilisation at all. But they did place a golden age right at the beginning of their own history, and their numerous accounts of this age add up to a detailed utopia of great emotive power… It was a time when the Muslims had all the virtues of tribesmen and none of their vices, for thanks to Islam there was no feuding, no factionalism, and no disorder, just austerity, solidarity, and total devotion to the truth.” Therefore, I decided to look for the provisions of that old law which are related to my study and compare them with their counterparts in the modern human rights’ conventions. In order to limit my research, I decided to take the articles related to my study, media law, in the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) of the British Law to represent the leading international human rights conventions.
Part one: Preface
In this dissertation I am going to explain how both the HRA and the Sharia Law deal with the concept of freedom of expression. As long as such argument is new and uncommon because of the lack of references that studied it, which resulted in an ambiguous perception in the minds of people towards the Sharia Law and its sources, there must be a kind of primary definition of the Sharia Law, its sources and how the Sharia scholars (Sharia Jurists) deal with these sources to regulate law items.
This expression is going to be referred to as a theological-historical concept since the Sharia was revealed through a prophet, this makes it a theological subject matter, and it is 15 centuries old, this gives it a historical background. Sharia (šarīʿah) is all religious rituals that Allah (SWT) has imposed on Muslims, via his Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) regarding beliefs, rules and day-to-day life among...