In response to Michael Sexton’s inaccurate assertion that 18C somehow prevented free speech about Islam in Australia, I posted a comment this morning to The Australian. It was censored by the editors – namely not run, though over 100 other comments applauding his piece and echoing the The Australian/IPA line on 18C were. They are now calling for the government to use the Paris horrors to re-address the removal of 18C. So I assume that I was blocked because my comment held to a different opinion to the editorial line of the News Ltd stable.
See story here
So I commented again:
The Australian reserves the right to censor material submitted to it that doesn’t fit its rules. Earlier today i posted a comment to the effect that Michael Sexton was wrong in fact and in law about the coverage of 18C – it does not cover religions other than Judaism and maybe Sikhism (under the “race” reading of the section). So there has never been a successful claim under 18C by Muslims in Australia and nothing that 18C seeks to protect would have prevented the caricatures by Charlie Hebdo of Muslims and Islam. All the big item 18 C cases are either about vilification of indigenous people or of Jews and usually relate to Holocaust denial. My guess is – because The Australian refuses to justify or debate its censorship – that pointing out that the article and most of the comments reflected their writers’t prejudices rather than fact would not work for the hierarchy at The Australian and the News Ltd directives from the Murdoch tweets. I am strongly in favour of free speech, and would fight to defend prejudice, ignorance and sheer falsehoods gracing the pages of The Australian. I would expect nothing less of it. I am just fascinated by why in the tons of drivel posted as comments, my drivel was specifically excluded?
We’ll see if it gets posted — we know that News Ltd isn’t good when it’s held to account for getting its facts wrong, especially when its done under a Rupert tweet.