Free Speech Human Rights Hate Speech

2011-11-06 Commentary on Jennifer Robinson & Julian Assange's article: Bolt & free speech

I have the greatest respect both for Jennifer Robinson and Julian Assange, both stalwarts in the field of human rights, the former in her capacity of legal representation and advocacy, and the latter as arguably the greatest whistleblower on abuses of human rights, of all times.

Their joint recent article at the Sydney Morning Herald I found to be well argued but I am not yet wholly convinced that the law is wrong on the issue of free speech, (the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 - "RDA" - being the subject of contention here) which they both oppose in law and disagree with the particular decision in Eatock v Bolt [2011] FCA 1103, (Federal Court of Australia.)

It's not that I necessarily oppose the abolition of the RDA, simply I advance the proposition that minorities still need some kind of protection from personal vilification and personal defamation, and that the debate needs more people to become politically involved. On the other hand that cannot or should not extend to the creation of a special category of 'religious defamation' that Islamic nations have recently tried to get up at the UN.

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