There are probably good reasons for books to be burned, in the defence of someone’s right to a reputation. Nonetheless, it is within the management of the permanent conflict between personality rights and freedom of expression that its core lies, and it is there, for that same reason, that the firmness of a core value to the democratic system itself is measured.
In the trial that starts tomorrow, the McCann couple wants the destruction of all the books in which Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the investigation into the disappearance of little Madeleine, defends the position that both may have been involved in the case. Amaral argues, in favour of his thesis, with facts from the investigation itself, which he directed; the McCanns argue that Amaral’s arguments offend their right to a reputation. Justice will decide, but similar arguments could be used to burn, on a daily basis, the entire Portuguese Press, and to light an immense “Bücherverbrennung” in the democratic countries in general. An opinion is an opinion and it is worth the same as the facts that it is based upon. Opinions are not burned, they are discussed and opposed.
source: Jornal de Notícias, 11.01.2010