Andrew Bolt has a bi-weekly full page spread.
He appears every weekday on the radio.
He has his own TV show.
I don’t think his speech is really that threatened, do you?
The take away from today will be a discussion about “free speech”. There will inevitibly be those who wil argue that speech should be completely free and unrestricted. These libertarian types will no doubt get their knickers in a knot over it all. They will use the word “freedom” like the smurfs use “smurf”. And then there will be those who are quietly (or perhaps less quietly) glad that Bolt is finally getting his comeuppance. I have to admit that it’s like watching a murdering drug kingpin go down for tax evasion; it’s not how I’d like it to happen but part of me enjoys it all the same.
I love the idea of free speech, don’t you. I haven’t heard anyone argue otherwise. I think this debate centres more around degrees of free speech than any level of opposition to it. But like everything I think it gets pretty murky when you start looking at the details.
I think free speech would work great if everyone’s speech was equal, but it isn’t, is it? My speech is not equal to the speech of Andrew Bolt or his media asset owning overlords. Chances are, yours isn’t either.
So if a powerful media organization decided that it would like to say something about you (perhaps it is to do with your race, your performance at work, or you personal opinions outside of work) what chance does your speech have against that? Can you yell as loud as News Ltd?
Maybe these “restrictions” on free speech aren’t such a bad thing if it protects those that don’t have as much free speech as others. Maybe ensuring that those with more forceful free speech treat it with the respect and responsibility that it deserves is a good thing, even if it occasionally gets into murky water around issues of “freedom”.
Of course, when the legal system is used to shut down blogs *cough* and trample on those with soft voices the system is probably not working.
I don’t have any answers, but I think framing the discussion as “for freedom” and “against freedom” doesn’t help anyone. I think today was about “being a dickhead about it” vs “rationally discussing issues”, I think the court came down on the side of “don’t be a c***”.
But I will leave the last word to well known advocate of unity, Andrew Bolt:
“I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on the differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings. Thank you.”
That’s about all I have to say this morning. Carry on being free.
UPDATE: Dave over at Pure Poison has a copy of the law and the judgment on the blog. The issue doesn’t seem to be expressing his opinion. It seems like it was about the lies and distortions and stuff.