In early 2016, Jan Böhmermann, a german comedian, took it up on himself to demonstrate the difference between satire and vulgar insults by giving an example of the latter, reciting a poem he had written about turkish president Erdogan. The turkish president did not appreciate the act, and wanted to press criminal charges. After a few weeks of debate and internet memes, Angela Merkel caved, and allowed Erdogan to prosecute the comedian under an old "Lèse-majesté" law. And as one, the heads of state of other European countries cried outrage.
"It cannot be", said David Cameron, "that in a modern, western democracy, comics are prosecuted for insulting the turkish president, when everybody that made fun of me never even got a fine!" French president François Hollande went even further, pointing out that "after the tragic events a year ago regarding Charlie Hebdo, it should be clear to anybody that satire is dangerous, and should only be used to mock enemies of the state. The fact that such a powerful and deadly weapon has been directed at the president of an allied country is an affront, and the fact that when its him, they press charges, but when its me, they just laugh, is even worse. #JeSuisErdogan"
As events unfolded, more and more people in high offices complained that they, too, wanted to press charges against a couple of people who had made fun of them, and soon changes in the law followed to make this possible. When asked about his opinion on the matter, one of the prosecuted comedians had this to say:
"It is with great joy that I have been following the recent developments in Europe regarding satire. We have tried to educate the general public, but also our elected officials, on the concept of irony and sarcasm for years. To see now that they have not only grasped the gist of it, but are actively applying it in government, fills me with pride. Either that, or they really are a bunch of freaking morons."
He was later sentenced to ten years of solitary confinment.
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