Europe Grapples with Outdated Lèse-Majesté Laws

HY Kim, J.D. Candidate 2017, Columbia Law School Background On March 31, 2016, a German satirist, Jan Böhmermann, ignited a debate on the relevance of an arguably outdated statute by reading an obscene poem about the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the weekly German satirical show “Neo Magazin Royal.” The poem included insults and made light of the very fact that the act of reciting such a poem would be considered illegal in Turkey. Little did Böhmermann know, this act was also illegal in Germany. After the conclusion of an investigation, launched by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the request […]