Free speech

The Australian government seems somewhat inclined to adopt a course of evil, in the form of media regulation. It is not for no reason that the first amendment to the US Constitution is phrased as ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’. It is government from which free speech needs to be protected.

Under the proposals, I suspect even this blog would come close to its regulation.

Read Professor Bunyip on this evil. Sample:

In the Media section of today’s Australian, various heavyweights weigh in on the inquiry with balanced and nuanced appreciations of its worth, the general view being that the report is worthy of further discussion and refinement. Perhaps they cannot think beyond the report’s endorsement of taxpayer subsidies because they are already bending over, assuming the position. They do not object to being stuffed, apparently, just as so long as they retain the feeble right to negotiate how deep that violation will go.

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2 Responses to Free speech

  1. Simon Reidy says:

    This isn’t America, so I’m not sure of the relevance of the reference to the US constitution. As Wikipedia states: “Australia does not have explicit freedom of speech in any constitutional or statutory declaration of rights”.

    I read the blog you linked to, and from what I can see there seems to be great confusion between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom to make things up and report them as fact’. Its the second one which has been increasing at an alarming rate, and I think its quite right to have an independent regulatory body to analyse some of the sensationalist bullshit printed in the media these days.

    Then there’s the issue of multi-billionaires like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer who are free to invest whatever they want in media companies, and put together grossly misleading multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to push their vested interests against government policy. They are free to advertise as they want of course, but now that Gina Rinehart has invested 15% in Fairfax, what impact do you think that will have on impartial objective journalism on Ten? (Given they have already swung to the right, thanks to professional brainwashers like Andrew Bolt).

    The point being, in my opinion there has to be some level of control and a limit to how much of the media rich individuals can invest in. I’m not sure if the proposed system is the best way to make these things happen, but all we need is something to make professional journalists think twice before printing an outright lie or twisting the truth to suit a political agenda. And when journalists innocently get something wrong, a swift and clear retraction should be printed somewhere prominent as quickly as possible.

    Otherwise we continue with a reckless situation where journalists can say whatever the hell they want, and where “free speech” is indirectly controlled by the rich, because smaller minorities simply don’t get their voices heard in any meaningful way. i.e. Fox News.

    I totally agree that the Internet should be off limits however. There are so many more grey areas, geographical issues, invasion of civil liberties and technical impracticalities that I don’t even know where to start! Blogs are by their very nature an expression of personal opinion, unlike printed or televised news where it’s the reporters job to get the facts right. I’m against any form of censorship of the net and believe it’s really a separate issue that should be taken out of the proposed system.

    It’s a complex issue however, so I hope I don’t offend you with my opposing view. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the matter, but its certainly something I feel passionately about. I’m just so sick of seeing the right wing media and mining magnates get away with whatever the hell they want. Commercial media in Australia is clearly starting to model itself on the style of “shock jock” conservative journalism in the States. Just look at the impact Fox has had on their viewers (surveys of Fox viewers show they believe the most ridiculous bullshit compared to the more rational viewers of networks like CNN ).

  2. Tim Lester says:

    Only the super rich can only use defamation laws as it costs a mint to go to court. Why should the rich just be protected? Get rid of defamation laws so we can have real free speech.

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