I would like to add that "criminalizing" offensive speech can be extremely problematic.
That's because anyone can pretend they are "offended" even for things that do not normally offend anyone. You can say anything and I can find 1-2% of people that are "offended" with what you said. If that 1-2% have political agenda or are supported by some money, you can go to jail. The 1-2 % of people do not need to be offended. They just need to pretend they are.
This is then used as a political tool to get rid people you don't like.
Countries have anti blasphemy laws, namely muslim countries, are usually more corrupt, or are not democratic. Freedom of speech is so essensial for democracy, removing that so not to "offend" people will make voters seriously missinformed.
A notable blasphemy case is Ahok. Ahok says that people were lying using a verse Al Maidah 51. A verse in Quran.
The context is that Indonesia was a very corrupt country. Then this Jokowi and Ahok become governor and vice governor respectively. Jokowi latter became president of Indonesia. Ahok, a christian, is also very popular in this muslim country.
Ahok and Jokowi reduces corruption effectively. Licensing are made easy. Government budget are jotted down electronically using e-budgeting system. Anyone approving the budget will have to use password so they cannot hide.
I would say that stealing government money in Jakarta becomes more difficult than stealing money from private sectors or even from US government after Ahok and Jokowi.
The result was unbelievable. Rivers are clean. People get free health care. Kids got free education. All the roads are fixed. Floods are greatly reduced because rivers are no longer clogged.
We got cctv in government offices to make sure those lazy officials are working.
And ALL THOSE are done with LESS budget. Ahok simply eliminate frivolous spending that used to be spent by corrupt officials.
You see that picture above? It's a budget to improve "understanding" of Government policy. The figure is about USD 10 billion dollar I've heard. Ahok simply wrote "Pemahaman nenek lu". That means something along "Understanding my ass" in English. The people laugh. But obviously whoever "proposes" that idiotic budget (and most likely go to jail after that), are not very happy with Ahok.
Before, I've heard there is a budget to provide each school with uninteruptible power supply that costs $200k each. This is in a region where most schools do not even have computers. And typical UPS doesn't cost $200k. Such mark up were usual before Ahok and Jokowi. Again, it's blown up by media.
They are both so popular. Jokowi ran for presidency and won. Ahok replaces him.
From secular points of view, they're just great. Ahok's approval rating is 70%. People expected him to win Jakarta gubernatorial election easily.
In fact, many wants Ahok to run as governor without political party as independent candidate. He is so popular and because people picked governor directly, many think he didn't need any support from political party.
If you're in an election against someone like Ahok, winning is not easy. If from secular points of view he is the best governor in Indonesia, why should voters, that are tired of corruption, choose others? Religion.
So people that do not like Ahok uses Al Maidah 51 to persuade muslims not to pick non muslim governors.
One day, Ahok told people that they may be lied to by using Al Maidah 51, a verse in Quran. The muslim fishermen that hear that laugh. Every body knows how corrupt indonesian society used to be.
When suddenly, out of nowhere, people are using 1 thousand years old religion to elect a potentially corrupt governor, people think it's just another trick.
Al Maidah 51 tells muslims not to pick non muslims as "allies". Some people that wants Ahok falls interpret this verse to mean muslims cannot pick Ahok, a christian as governor, in election.
Notice. Ahok didn't claim that the quranic verse is a lie. He also didn't say that those who say that muslims cannot pick him is lying. He's talking about the bigger context in general.
There are corrupt politicians, and those corrupt politicians use religions to steal people's money. Those corrupt politicians won't say honestly hei, I want to steal money so you shouldn't pick Ahok. Those politicians use religions to motivate people to select candidates within their pockets. It's an old trick. And I think we can all agree that such tricks count as "lying".
Of course, we know that the Saudis ally with US. Bashar allied with Syria. Even Indonesian's muslim's political party will support non muslims as governor somewhere else. It's simply applied to Jakarta 2017 gubernatorial election by a religion that was born and "completed" before any countries have election.
So yes. It is reasonable to think that the ulama that uses Al Maidah 51 to persuade muslims not to pick Ahok is lying or at least not objective. However, that was not what Ahok said.
From the context, it's clear that some corrupt officials will use religions to get "their man" to be governor. It happened previously before according to wikileak. https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07JAKARTA568_a.html
Even Ahok's opponent's say that people lie using religions. The sunni says that the syiah is lying. And so on and so on.
However, Ahok is a very popular governor in Jakarta and many corrupt officials do not like his rules.
So they spin Ahok's statement to mean that the quranic text it self or the interpretation of which is "lying". Also they claimed that it's not "appropriate" for Ahok, a christian, to comment about other religions.
And this gets Ahok's 2 years jail time.
So basically, Ahok suggest that some corrupt officials try to get their cronies elected by using religions. His opponent claim that Ahok claims, that religious leaders are lying when they interpret religions. And they claim that it's "offensive." And Ahok got 2 years in jail.
Basically, anything you said can be used against you if "somebody" is "offended". Your words can offend 1% of the population and you're in jail. In fact, the real reason is not that your words truly offend anyone.
Many people that want Ahok jailed are latter caught doing corruption. It's pretty obvious they have axes to grind. Their corrupt dealing will be in trouble if Ahok won governorship and become, say, ministers, for example. So of course they wanted Ahok to fall.
During Anies' regime, a lot of "unusual" budget are spent. Anies distribute money for "mass organization" with no clear rules why such organizations got money.
It's not really religion that motivate people to hurt Ahok. It's money. Corrupt officials want Ahok falls.
Most people in US is aware of this rubber laws. If freedom of speech is to be limited, the limit will be vague. Also it prevents healthy discussions of social issues that's important in democracy.
You can read more about Ahok here
Oh ya, the election for Jakarta governor is so important people called that "Governatorial election that feels like presidential election". The secular lost big in that election. They don't just lost election, Ahok went to jail, not by votes, but by decisions made by a few unelected judges.