Andrew Bolt on Free Speech

Andrew Bolt, “We must stop the enemies of free speech”:

Tony Abbott says he wants to restore free speech as he rolls back Labor’s authoritarian culture.  He could start by telling newspapers like this [Bolt’s Herald Sun] to sack their censor.
The new Prime Minister has promised to show a lead.  “He’ll repeal parts of the Racial Discrimination Act making it dangerous to ask why some people identify as exclusively Aboriginal — and deserving of special treatment — when all but one of their great grandparents were white.”
As Abbott last week:  “If we are going to be a robust democracy … we’ve got to allow people to say things that are unsayable in polite company.”
Very true, yet under Labor our newspapers let their own semi-judicial Press Council stop them doing just that.
The Press Council was given more power by newspapers which feared the paranoid Gillard Government would push for a state-backed censor if they didn’t muzzle themselves first.
And muzzle us our Press Council did — stopping us from saying things deemed rude by people of the Left.  I mean people much like Press Council chairman Julian Disney, director of the University of New South Wales’s Social Justice Project.
For instance, the Council misstated and cherry-picked evidence to attack me in a preliminary judgment for correctly stating we’ve had no statistically significant warming of the atmosphere for 15 years, against predictions by warming alarmists.
Only after extensive correspondence did it drop its trumped-up charges.
The Press Council ruled against another sceptic for attacking green-energy subsidies as a “Ponzi scheme” and satirically quoting a farmer likening the wind-farm scam to a pedophilia ring.
Too offensive, it tut-tutted.
It attacked The Australian’s foreign affairs writer for calling boat people “illegal immigrants”, a term it ruled “very often inaccurate and … unfair.”  [A better term is “unlawful non-citizens who are seeking (or have sought) illegal entry”.]  It instructed journalists to say “asylum seekers” instead — a presumptuous restriction of free speech newspapers absurdly accepted.
Indeed, ABC journalists even heckled Tony Abbott and Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison for continuing to refer to “illegal immigrants” and last week the ABC’s new fact checking team put Morrison under the microscope.
But surprise.  On reflection, the ABC admitted Morrison was actually “correct”:  “People who have come to Australia without a valid visa have illegally entered the country.”

See also “The News Censor” (particularly for accounts of the “racial discrimination” case, Eatock v. Bolt), “The Forbidden History of Unpopular People: Free Speech” and “Rara Temporum”.

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