Man forbidden to use word

Isabella Massardo reports that a man in Manchester has been forbidden by magistrates to use the word ‘Paki’ (i.e. Pakistani; quoting the Guardian and the Independent – BBC News has it too). Under the terms of an anti-social behaviour order, he will go to prison if he uses the word in public. This is the first such order of its kind, apparently. The Independent quotes Liberty, the human rights organiization, as describing this as bad law, because it is ‘almost impossible to enforce’ (presumably hard to monitor rather than to enforce).

The prosecutor was Manchester City Council. An anti-social behaviour order was new to me. It is also referred to as an ASBO. (It sounds like the opposite of what is intended – should it not be an Anti-Antisocial Behaviour Order?) There are some statistics here, from April 1, 1999, when they were first introduced – Greater Manchester certainly seems fond of them. And here is information from the Home Office.

5 thoughts on “Man forbidden to use word

  1. Amazing. Next, look for the ASTO (anti-social thought order). What would happen if one was to say about the Queen: “She looks like a cross between a bulldog and a handbag.” Not that I think that, because I don’t, but I was just wondering.

  2. I saw this at Transblawg: A man in Manchester, England, received an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) forbidding him from using the work Paki to describe a Pakistani. A report from The Independent is here. From The Independent: Michael Guilfoyle, 31,…

  3. It does sound dreadful. I am not quite clear what is necessary for an ASBO to be granted, except that apparently an order not to say ‘Paki’ is regarded as a bit suspect. But as for the Queen, I think it’s OK to say that nowadays. I think the usual comparison is Miss Piggy.

  4. Hello Margaret,

    just for your info (should you be interested) ASBO came up in this year’s IoL DPSI law exam where candidates had to (simultaneously) interpret the following explanation: “Section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 enables certain ‘relevant authorities’ – councils for local government areas and chief officers of police – to apply for ASBOs. Antisocial Behaviour Orders can be made in relation to persons of 10 yeras and over who have acted in an antisocial manner and where the order is necessary to protect the public from further antisocial acts. Section 1 defines an antisocial manner as that which ’caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household’. An ASBO prohibits the person under the order from doing anything described in the order. …”

    Best wishes,

  5. Hey Jana,

    I’m writing an essay on the ASB Bill, now the act and how it challenges human rights. I was wondering if you would have any input on the issue. Clearly it is open to challenge Articles 5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 14. I have read some reports, and have checked out some opinions, but need some more to back it up. Let me know if you have any info.



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