Farting and burping in public is not a freedom of expression, it has no communicative content

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Frontier India News Network
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A man in Vienna, Austria was fined 500 euros for farting in front of police officers when they approached him for a routine identity check. As per local media, the man went to court, claiming that he did not do it intentionally and even if he intentionally farted, it would still have been his fundamental right. The police contended that the man was fined for ‘offending public decency’. The police also said that the man behaved ‘provocatively and uncooperatively’ with the police subsequently. The police also told him that the decision can be appealed.

The Austrian City police wrote on twitter, that the man ‘let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent’ and “our colleagues don’t like to be farted at so much.”

The man’s argument did not impress the judge, who refused to cancel the fine. The judge took a view that burps and farts can cause ‘social inappropriateness’ and do not contain ‘communicative content’. Even if a fart or burp had a message, they would still be considered a ‘form of expression that transcends the boundaries of decency’.

The judge then lowered the fine to 100 euros. The man and his legal team plan to appeal the decision in Austria’s Constitutional Court. The man’s Lawyer Matej Zenz said the case is a matter of principle for his client and added that it is ‘petty’ to be punished ‘for a fart’.


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