Pontiff defends freedom of speech en route to the Philippines but says ‘you cannot insult the faith of others’
Pope Francis has said there are limits to freedom of expression and that following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris “one cannot make fun of faith”.
On a plane from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, the largest Catholic majority country in Asia, the pope said freedom of speech was a fundamental human right but “every religion has its dignity”.
Asked about the attack that killed 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo – targeted because it had printed depictions of the prophet Muhammad – he said: “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.
“There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.”
He gestured to Alberto Gasparri, who organises papal trips and was standing by his side, and added: “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Cautioning against provocation he said the right to liberty of expression came with the obligation to speak for “the common good”.