Comment in a leading German newspaper regarding the way UTC and Apple handle Emoji as an attack on Free Speech

John O'Conner jsoconner at
Fri Aug 26 12:01:18 CDT 2016

What I find more interesting is how emoji (a small digital image or icon)
was ever interpreted as encodable text for the Unicode Standard. If our
German newspaper friends have made a mistake in interpreting emoji as
speech, I think the Unicode consortium has made an even bigger mistake.


On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 5:26 AM Helena S Chapman <hchapman at>

> This is an interesting way of interpreting "speech". To understand that,
> we need to look at what an emoji is: "A small digital image or icon used to
> express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication." In no way we
> can agree Emoji "replaced the English language". The first Emoji was
> designed Shigetaka Kurita on NTT's docomo, there is no indication it is
> replacing Japanese language either.
> There isn't anything in Unicode that prevents people from expressing the
> words "Rifles", "Guns", "Fire Arms", etc in various languages (real
> languages such as German I meant).
> Best regards,
> Helena Shih Chapman
> Director, IBM Globalization Executive *CISM*
> <>
> +1-720-396-6323
> From:        Karl Pentzlin <karl-pentzlin at>
> To:        unicode at
> Cc:        "unicore at" <unicore at>
> Date:        08/26/2016 06:58 AM
> Subject:        Comment in a leading German newspaper regarding the way
> UTC and Apple handle Emoji as an attack on Free Speech
> Sent by:        "Unicore" <unicore-bounces at>
> ------------------------------
> Today in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", one of the leading
> German newspapers: The comment regards an UTC decision to refuse the
> acceptance
> of emojis for Olympic rifles, as well as the fact that Apple's IOS 10
> displays
> U+1F52B as a toy water pistol, as an attack on Free Speech:
> "Das Unicode-Konsortium wirkt wie eine Neuauflage des Orwellschen
> Wahrheitsministeriums,
> das die englische Sprache durch eine um schädliche Begriffe gereinigte,
> neue Sprache
> ersetzte und die übriggebliebenen Worte „unorthodoxer“ Nebenbedeutungen
> entkleidete."
> ("The Unicode Consortium appears like a reissue of Orwell's Ministry
>  of Truth, which replaced the English language by a new one, sweeped clean
>  from harmful terms, and which removed "unorthodox" connotations from
>  the rest of the words.")
> - Karl Pentzlin
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