Cosmopolitan democratic and communicative rights: The Danish cartoons controversy and the right to be heard, even across borders

Alexander Brown (Lead Author), Sune Lægaard

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During the Danish cartoons controversy in 2005–2006, a group of ambassadors to Denmark representing eleven predominantly Muslim countries requested a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to protest against the cartoons. Rasmussen interpreted their viewpoint as one of demanding limits to freedom of speech and he ignored their request for a meeting. Drawing on this case study, the article argues that it is an appropriate, and potentially effective, moral criticism of anyone who is in a position of political power—taking into account reasonable constraints of feasibility and practicality—that they have refused to receive information, ideas, or opinions from individuals, or their representatives, with dissenting viewpoints. The article also articulates one possible theoretical ground for such a moral criticism: that they could be violating a fundamental (cosmopolitan) moral right of people to submit information, ideas, or opinions to those who wield power over them and to be meaningfully heard—a right which can span state borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Rights Review
Issue number1
Early online date15 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021

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