Continued from page 1
But do we want laws to prevent publication of self-proclaimed fiction? I'm open to argument, but I am minded to say 'no'.
It is a difficult call. Earlier this week, Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Burma protested against a film called 'Hollywood Buddha' which they said degrades religion's founder.
"We want release of this film stopped," monk Mawarale Baddiya told Associated Press.
"The film scoffs at Lord Buddha, his character and his teaching."
Not having seen this film and not having read 'The Da Vinci Code', I cannot comment on their quality. But I don't believe that subjective judgement of quality should interfere with matters of principles.
A practical illustration of where I stand is work of T.S. Elliot. Whilst I am repelled by his anti-semitism, I would never want to live in a society that sought to ban his books; and almost as importantly I think that such censorship would be self-defeating. In long run, there is nothing that perpetuates antipathy more than authorities placing themselves on some moral pedestal, and dictating to us what we can or can't read or view.
As a footnote, I see major problem in another genre altogether. Films and books that claim to be 'docudramas', or 'based on reality' allow themselves a freedom from truth and simultaenously a freedom from many of our laws. They exploit a loophole so that they can present a portrait of people without actually having to be factually accurate.
After over a decade researching and producing documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, Danny Rosenbaum left the industry this year to establish the www.biogs.com website.