Insuring free speech Reply

114121_originalTweeters, bloggers and freelance journalists will be able to insure against defamation actions against them, in a scheme announced by the Media Alliance.

While the internet enabled freelance journalists to self publish, it also meant that independent journalists no longer had an umbrella of employers’ legal protection.

Australia has no constitutional guarantees of free speech, allowing the wealthy or well connected to target their online critics with costly legal actions. Journalists have been faced with the choice of going silent or talking a loan to pay for a lawyer. More…

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Free Speech Reply

spigelBeing offensive should not be illegal, according to Jim Spigelman, the Chair of the ABC.

Mr Spigelman was giving the 2012 Human Rights Day Oration at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 25th Human Rights Award Ceremony.

Laws restricting hate speech should aim to protect people’s dignity against assault, he said. But “declaring conduct, relevantly speech, to be unlawful, because it causes offence, goes too far.” More…

Wikileaks and investigative journalism 1

“All governments lie” according to the founder of modern investigative journalism, IF Stone.

Stone had a lot in common with Wikileaks‘ Julian Assange.

In the Fifties, “Izzy” Stone broke free from mainstream press compliance with, and reliance on, systematic spin. He created his own files, cross referencing and contextualising what governments said, to help reveal what they actually did. He published the results in his own newspaper, IF Stone’s Weekly.

Wikileaks does much the same thing today assisted by the speed of computers and the reach of the internet. In both cases, these media dissidents interrogated governments’ own sources. And in both cases, this revelation of otherwise hidden government activities was claimed to be a threat to national security. Stone was branded as a communist, a fifties smear as potent as the attempt to convict Julian Assange as a gender criminal (a much more contemporary offence).

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