Pure Poison ambivalent on freedom of speech
PP boyz Dave Gaukroger and Jeremy Sear – no doubt quite familiar with defamation actions – today defend Andrew Bolt's right to express himself freely but conclude their joint post with this odd disclaimer:
Of course, there’s a place for the courts to restrain dangerous speech – speech that seriously incites violence against a group. And there’s a place for the courts to restrain speech that directly flouts necessary court orders and contradicts the interests of justice – we disagree with Bernard Keane’s attempt yesterday to put Andrew Bolt and Derryn Hinch in the same category.Funny, criticise Jeremy for writing small-minded, hollow, illogical, erroneous, spiteful rot and he'll likely claim to be the victim of abuse, vitimisation and stalking.
But the court system should not be an arbiter of tastelessness or offensiveness. It is not what it was designed to do, and placing it in that position is actually counterproductive.
The ill-informed, wrong-headed drivel that is served up by commentators like Bolt is part of the cost of freedom of speech, and it is a cost that we believe is worth paying. To paraphrase the apocryphal quote so often attributed to Voltaire: we may not agree with what you say, but we’ll defend to the death the right of people to call it small-minded, hollow, illogical, erroneous, spiteful rot.