Discussing Fear and Free Speech on Deutsche Welle

Remember the incident over the summer when a woman was detained by the police, after a crew-member on a Thompson Airways reported her for the ‘suspicious’ activity of reading a book?  Faizah Shaheen spoke about her experiences to the WorldLink programme on the Deutsche Welle English language service, as part of an hour long programme about fear.

At the time, many people dismissed the story as a storm in a paper tea-cup.  After all, Ms Shaheen was only detained for a short period of time, and the police need to do their job.

During the interview, Faizah explains why this was indeed a serious incident.  Being detained and questioned is incredibly demeaning.  The fear induced by the questioning is very real and can have a profound effect on those subjected to it.  And when a person has fallen under suspicion for doing something that they have every right to do (in this case, reading a book) there is a degree of justified anger as well.

I also spoke to the Deutsche Welle about the incident, explaining that it was not an anomaly, but part of a wider, worrying trend.  My short contribution is at about the five minute mark, but you should listen to the whole thing.

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