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The Forum > Article Comments > Free speech and the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo > Comments

Free speech and the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo : Comments

By Trisha Jha, published 20/1/2015

Underpinning the exhortation to restrict free speech are the ideas that free speech is a zero-sum game where the 'loser' is almost always a minority community.

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Where the author says:

"For the right, it means an opportunity to cast doubt on the nature of our society on the basis that some groups of people will never really fit into Western society."

Is she talking about a certain commenter named after a kiddy's, plastic, block?

Only the the Centrists (neither Left nor Right) hold the pulse of their human conditions.
Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 10:49:30 AM
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There's only one ethnic minority group who takes advantage of 18c on a regular basis, they're the same ones whose shops and schools in Europe are currently being guarded by paratroopers.
Ironically they're the same group who Charlie Hebdo refused to include in their satire for fear of retribution, even sacking one of their cartoonists who "crossed the line".
I'm talking of course about the "Eskimos" (wink wink).
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 11:35:32 AM
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We are instructed not to lampoon religion. That religious thought and practice is somehow sacrosanct. That it is wrong, very wrong indeed to offend and insult a person of religion be he/she an archbishop, rabbi or ayatollah.

I say this is nonsense. Humour, satire and ridicule have proved to be powerful weapons in controlling the excesses of religion. A religion out of control will permeate all aspects of our lives. Prelates would proscribe our eating habits [no fish on Friday, or the dietary rules of Jews and Islam]. Prelates would control our sexual activities; are they not empowered by law to oversee hatches, matches and dispatches. Religion is capable of the controlling business and trade [no shops to open on the Sabbath, for it is the Lordís Day]

In the West religion is largely under control; gone are the days of burning heretics; gone too is Inquisition. Unfortunately this is not yet the case with Islam. It may well take centuries before the enlightenment spreads over the land of Islam. Until that date I foresee a bloody clash between the forces of enlightenment and the militant sects and subsects of Islam such as the Salafists and the followers of the 18th Century Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab.

I have yet to meet the person of religious faith who is able to provide empirical evidence that the universe is populated with gods, goddess, daemons, angels and the spirits of the dead. True Christians have concatenated the many gods of the ancients into a three headed monster, while others have by an equal act of magic concatenated the many into a single God. I leave it to others to determine if Jehovah and Allah are the same God or just two powerful deities in competition controlling the cosmos and orchestrating affairs on Earth.
Posted by anti-green, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 12:36:29 PM
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So as I understand the current situation, Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to: "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people because of their race or ethnicity".
And what's wrong with that?
Our Attorney-General George Brandis famously said that people have the right to be bigots. So they do. But it is still unlawful to take to the public airways to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people because of their race or ethnicity. Given the tone and content of some of its commentators, I reckon OLO sails very close to wind on this.
Murder was committed at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine. By whom is still not exactly clear, altho there is an official story and another one for those willing to look beyond the headlines. But murder it was.
Point 1: Prosecute the murder, and if possible also those flowing from the initial attack at the magazine's offices.
Point 2: The magazine's cartoons so much at the centre of the ensuing discussion could not be published in Australia under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Good. Let's keep it that way.
In our increasingly polarised and sectarian world, we need restraints and respect. By all parties. At all times.
Posted by halduell, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 12:53:15 PM
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Halduell

My understanding is that the CH cartoons would probably be lawful in Australia because they attack religion, not race. Iím no lawyer and I could be wrong on this, though.

I agree the kind of hate speech that directly incites violence should be banned, but a right not to be offended is too vague and subjective and leaves people at the discretion of the courts. It also opens to door for vexatious claims and those seeking money (only a tiny percentage of claims make it to court). The threat of litigation can deter free expression even if that expression would be lawful.

There is a difference between behaviour that ought to be socially unacceptable, and that which should be illegal. Larry Pickeringís cartoons of Julia Gillard were misogynist, disgusting, coarse and unfunny. I would refuse to buy any publication that printed them. But I donít think they should be illegal.
Posted by Rhian, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 1:40:51 PM
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There is no reason why speech should be more free than any other action.

One should be able to do whatever they like so long as they do not hurt non-consenting others, but speech is often hurtful to others, so restricting it is just.

There should be no problem speaking and telling whatever you like to those who are willing to hear you, but not to others.

I would like to see in jail all those who speak at me despite knowing that it hurts me - I specifically refer to those who uninvitedly talk at me about their products and services which they want to sell and their prices, doing so is a criminal assault.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 1:53:34 PM
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