Freedom of speech

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Joe Hockey’s successful defamation case against Fairfax Media raises questions about the extent to which politicians should be able to sue in relation to publications about their public conduct. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Hockey v Fairfax should start the debate on defamation law reform

Hockey v Fairfax illustrates that recent legal and technological developments still pose challenges for defamation law, which has not been reformed to keep pace with these changes.
Picking a fight with a media company should not be a politician’s priority. AAP/Nikki Short

Hockey’s defamation win is dark news for democracy and free speech

The elephant in the room in the just-concluded defamation case between Joe Hockey and Fairfax Media was the actual story being attacked. Media organisations ought to be able to instigate the debate without fear of reprisals by litigious politicians.
In Tony Abbott’s worldview, it seems, a person’s freedom of speech depends whose side they are on. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Abbott spins tangled web of free speech and editorial judgement

In all the politicking and government attacks on the ABC for giving a platform to former terror suspect Zaky Mallah, the free speech debate has become confused.
No platform policies are morphing into bans that threaten free speech. Chris Radburn/PA Archive

New ranking exposes curbs on university freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is at the heart of academic life and a university should be a place where every issue is discussed and debated. Not so, according to the findings presented in the first ever Freedom of…
Foreign PR campaigns have been waged for decades. Films like 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front were significantly altered to appease Germany’s Nazi Party. filmjunk.com

How foreign governments can influence American media – and tried to block my documentary

Feature films and television shows notoriously play fast-and-loose with the facts. When prologues proclaim “Based on a True Story,” they’re gracefully implying that what follows is mostly fiction. Awards…
What happened to “bless those who curse you”? Francis R Malasig/EPA

Pope Francis gives freedom of speech a cruel punch

Approaching his third year as head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis appeared to be doing so well. That is, until after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, he’s said that those who mock faith should be…
Family First senator Bob Day’s proposed changes to Section 18C have been given fresh prominence since the Charlie Hebdo attacks. AAP/Lukas Coch

Charlie Hebdo attacks provide a false pretext for 18C debate

Early in 2014, federal Attorney-General George Brandis released a proposal to significantly amend our law against racial vilification, Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act, on the strength…
French comedian Dieudonné has just been charged as an ‘apologist for terrorism’ for his Facebook posting ‘Je me sens Charlie Coulibaly’ (I feel I am Charlie Coulibaly). EPA/Didier Jouret

Speech in France is not so free as Section 18C critics would have it

Recent commentary about the so-called “French” idea of free speech is fuelling confusion and misinformation in the debate about Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 in Australia. Human Rights…
Stéphane Charbonnier (Charb) lost his life in the Paris shooting. thierry ehrmann

In praise of the cartoonist – solitary, studious and searing

They think and work differently, cartoonists. Anyone who has spent any time in an editorial office will know that cartoonists dream and draw on their own, working to the rhythm of their thoughts – if they…

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