Free speech? Oh give me a break

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Andrew Bolt wasted little time in decrying today’s Federal Court ruling as being anti-free speech. 

What a load of crap.

There are already limitations of so-called free speech. For example, you cannot go around willingly defaming someone and expect to get away with it. Try inciting a race riot and you’ll be in strife (Alan Jones skated perilously close to that). There are plenty of examples if you want to go looking for them.

Despite Bolt’s protestations of innocence, the articles in question quite clearly accused specific individuals of pursuing their aboriginality for reasons of politics or financial gain which were not found to be appropriate or even necessarily accurate. He made significant errors of fact in his statements. And as rather clearly indicated in the blog of Dr Anita Heiss that I referred to in an earlier post, Blot was not above trying to pull a fast one in front of the court.

These were quite distinct, personal attacks on specific individuals. It was in no way a matter of making comment in ‘public interest’ as Bolt and his legal team tried to claim in court. And it sure as shit wasn’t trying to discuss matters of multiculturalism as also subsequently claimed.

Significantly, the Australian Press Council has come out and disputed Bolt’s claims, noting that the finding “says the media is still allowed to discuss racial identification issues, and even challenge the genuineness of the identification of a group of people, but only if it is done responsibly and with due care and attention to facts.”

All you had to do was read the reported Court findings to realise that. But far be it for the Bolter to let facts get in the way of a good story.

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. In his usual, rightwing nutbag manner, Bolt chose a quite wrong and thoroughly despicable way of shooting his mouth off.  Given the quite incorrect and warped things Bolt stated in the articles, such as claiming Dr Heiss’s aboriginality got her a position in radio, while conveniently failing to reveal that this was a voluntary and unpaid position, I think Bolt is quite fortunate so far to have avoided defamation proceedings. If it were me, I would have been hitting the pig where it really hurt – right in his fat wallet.

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