A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed.
In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees.
In one tweet Ms Banerji wrote:
“Think of the deaths we are responsible for in Iraq! Think of the refugees we have created by our invasion of Iraq!”
Free Speech amongst Conservatives doesn’t exist
“God, I can’t believe the whole movement just collapsed on this guy. He’s done,” the source said.
“Bannon still thinks of himself as a revolutionary,” Swan concluded shortly after news that Bannon was ousted from Breitbart emerged. “That self-perception won’t change. It’s just that now he has no vehicle, no staff, no platform, and no major donors funding his ambitions.”
“Media Matters has closely tracked Breitbart since the site’s inception and has written countless pieces about the site and Steve Bannon. Nobody knows Breitbart better than we do. Breitbart will be as odious, contemptible, and awful without Steve Bannon as it was with him at the helm. If anything, Breitbart showed that it is now committed in total devotion to Trump and can be best identified as a mere PR apparatus serving the Mercers’ agenda. Without Bannon, Breitbart will remain just as disreputable and disgusting as ever. We’ll be watching.” Media Matters
“We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it”
Owing to the US campaign to have RT registered as a foreign agent, the channel will “in the worst-case scenario” be forced to stop broadcasting in America, which will trigger reciprocal measures towards US media in Russia, RT’s editor-in-chief has said.
Lecturers at Israeli academic institutions will be barred from discussing political issues with their students, after the education minister introduced a new “ethical code.” Breaking it could mean a reprimand or disciplinary action.
Palestinian activists and others have long faced actual travel bans, blacklists, and political persecution. Nevertheless, that some of the same methods are now being used against Israeli and American Jews is a worrying sign. One of the Israel government’s senior-most ministers said last year that Israeli BDS advocates must be made to pay a price for their political activism. A series of developments over the past month or so seem to demonstrate that he was completely serious, and that government efforts to target nonviolent political dissidents are escalating to worrying levels. [tmwinpost] First came the law banning entry into Israel…
Instead of simply announcing that it opposes BDS, which would be a perfectly legitimate stance, the Israeli government is criminalizing the movement and its advocates. The results won’t be pretty. Police near Jerusalem picked up an Israeli citizen who was just standing on the street Monday. He was not doing anything illegal. Someone who lived in the neighborhood reported him on suspicion of carrying material related to BDS; and while it is not illegal for Israelis to carry material about BDS in territory under Israel’s control, the police answered the call. [tmwinpost] Jeff Halper, the director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)…
Fox News’ Fox & Friends falsely claimed that Sweden’s reintroduction of the draft was due to violence in the country precipitated by refugees, when in fact the draft is being reintroduced to counter Russian aggression in the region.Despite Fox’s assertion, Sweden’s government is reintroducing the draft for men and women in the count
Health of reporter Muhammad al-Qiq deteriorates after weeks of hunger strike.
After 10 months of administrative detention, it appears the army no longer views Omar Nazzal as a dangerous threat — just like countless other administrative detainees who sit in prison for months, if not years. Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal was released from Israeli prison on Monday after 10 months in administrative detention. Upon his release, Nazzal, a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, was welcomed by family members and supporters outside Ofer military prison, near Ramallah. [tmwinpost] Nazzal, 55, was first detained in April at Allenby Bridge while trying to leave the West Bank en route to an…
A new PPP poll shows that 51% of Trump supporters believe that two Iraqis actually perpetrated the fictitious “Bowling Green Massacre.”
Longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone claimed that CIA Director John Brennan is a “mole” for the Saudi government and suggested that he be thrown in jail.Stone is a longtime friend and ally of President-elect Trump’s with a decades-long history of employing political dirty tricks, and he regularly spouts violent, racist, and
The internet is both wonderful and wicked. The world’s combined knowledge is at our fingertips, as is its debauchery. It is so much easier to find things out and so much harder to sort out the truth from the lies. We tend to live in echo chambers, seeking out the information that confirms our world…
Donald Trump Jr. promoted an “alt-right” video on his Twitter account that suggests Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign is engaged in satanism and her aides are trying to “kidnap your children, make them disappear, sell them into all kinds of things.” The video features “alt-right” bloggers Vox Day, who claims blacks are inf
A conspiratorial screed from the National Rifle Association imagines a future where the presidency of Hillary Clinton causes the rise of a new chapter of ISIS — ISUS, the “Islamic State in The United States” — culminating in a nuclear attack on U.S. soil. In a November 7 article in its online magazine America’s 1st Freedom, the NRA
The Trump campaign has no problem with the false reports, since they’re helping him VIDEO
Israel lobby groups cannot manufacture facts to successfully suppress speech.
The Israeli military censor has redacted, in full or in part, over 17,000 articles since 2011. While fewer articles have been censored in 2015 and 2016, the new IDF Censor is attempting to redact already-published information with alarming frequency. The Israeli Military Censor has outright banned the publication of 1,936 articles and redacted some information from 14,196 articles over the past five years. That is 1,936 articles that professional journalists and editors decided were of public interest but which never saw the light of day. In fact, the IDF Censor redacted at least some information from one in five articles submitted to it…
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ scandal-plagued tenure ends as it began: with attacks on Palestine scholarship, speech.
The ‘official secrets’ offence has been invoked in the case of a Labor staffer and his source, not for serious espionage but for disclosing embarrassing documents
At Israel’s request, Twitter is blocking Israelis from viewing certain tweets published overseas. Similar take-down notices have been sent to other international online platforms, the Justice Ministry confirms. Israeli authorities are taking steps to block their own citizens from reading materials published online in other countries, including the United States. The Israeli State Attorney’s Office Cyber Division has sent numerous take-down requests to Twitter and other media platforms in recent months, demanding that they remove certain content, or block Israeli users from viewing it. [tmwinpost] In an email viewed by +972, dated August 2, 2016, Twitter’s legal department notified American blogger Richard Silverstein that the Israeli…
The Bavarian parliament has held a discussion on whether Hitler’s notorious ‘Mein Kampf’ should become a part of the school curriculum. The idea was blasted by the country’s Jewish groups who called the book an “antisemitic concoction of hatred.”
Poet and activist Dareen Tatour has been charged with incitement to violence based on a poem she posted on Facebook. Its translation by a policeman whose sole competence as a translator is his ‘love for…
The draft law, which passed the first of three votes on Monday, would allow the expulsion of Arab MKs from the Knesset. It is one of several recent steps by the Netanyahu government to limit…
It’s Not Funny if it has no Insightful…
Not much to say about this one. You can’t make this stuff up. In yet another display of “Geller logic”, the self-described “defender of free speech” will be holding a press conference to investigate Al Jazeera and stop it from being shown in the U.S. Not surprising, since she has previously called Al Jazeera “Leftist Jihadist Media Nexus: Terror TV”, and said “Let’s not let the Islamic supremacists once again invoke the freedom of speech to kill our freedom of speech”.
Her opinion differs from that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who praised Al-Jazeera saying “You may not agree with [Al-Jazeera], but you feel you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials.”
I’ve noted before that Pamela Geller Does Not Understand Freedom of Speech when she found fault with American Muslims and others for denouncing her hate ads. This she called an attempt to “impose blasphemy restrictions on free speech”. Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech.Geller’s article on the Al Jazeera press conference however, goes beyond objecting, or condemning, and includes a graphic saying “STOP Al Jazeera expansion in the U.S.”
What she wants is to censor speech that she doesn’t like, and to be the one to decide what such censored speech will consist of. She isn’t calling for condemnation, or asking people not to watch, or to boycott the channel, all perfectly reasonable responses to something an individual considers to be inappropriate speech. No, she is calling for them not to be allowed to be heard at all.
As Gary Wasserman in the Washington Post noted about the Al Jazeera brouhaha
The announcement that al-Jazeera is buying Al Gore’s Current TV network can be expected to run into what pundits call “a serious image problem.” Allowing the Qatar-based, Arab-owned network to be seen in 40 million U.S. households may be more than our fragile citizenry can bear.
With its alleged positions against U.S. foreign policies and wars, al-Jazeera is just too “left” to be allowed access to our fearful public. Has anyone noticed that much of the world is “left” of the United States?
Because of my occasional appearances on al-Jazeera news shows, and having written opinion pieces for its Web site, I can be accused of knowing on which side my pita is being buttered. Fair enough. And my experiences with al-Jazeera will only confirm the obvious. In its selection of stories and editorial slants, it is to the left of mainstream American media. So what?
Al-Jazeera is also an outlet of professional journalists, generally well-informed and seeking to at least appear balanced. No one has ever suggested to me what to say or write. The network may present Arab voices, but its coverage includes more of the world than this parochial image allows. From oppressed native tribes in Peru to Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa, al-Jazeera reports undercovered news. Its reporters may be pro-Palestinian, but the network provides a rare platform in a region where Israeli officials and dissenters can both appear.
Looking for objective journalism in an era of 400 channels plus the Internet is looking backward to the bygone ideals of three national networks and Uncle Walter. Seeking the widest, most diverse sources for views of the world seems a more realistic goal for American media.
My own opinions may be shaped by experiences with al-Jazeera’s English-language channel. The Arabic part of the network has a separate staff, housed in more modest quarters across the street in Doha from the English channel. And in my few appearances on the Arabic channel, the editorial slant seemed a bit different.
Whether I was invited to comment on congressional elections, global warming or race relations, the questions inevitably veered toward the pro-Israel lobby. As in, after a few questions on the scheduled topic, something like: “Interesting point about liberalizing relations with Cuba, and how does that affect the Israel lobby?”
Obsessed? A bit. But perhaps we should wait for Chuck Hagel to actually be nominated as secretary of defense before we write off this view of the power of the pro-Israel lobby as completely delusional.
al-Jazeera will be running its American operation under a separate U.S.-based news channel with its own staff, which shows recognition of the issue of bias. Much of the paranoia about al-Jazeera rests on a somewhat antiquated notion of media ownership. While any of us writing about media will occasionally fall back on the vision of the willful reactionary owner (read: Rupert Murdoch) controlling the direction of his empire, the reality is more complicated. Reporters, editors, advertisers, sources, competitors, corporate strategists and even the audience shape the content of modern media. Bringing al-Jazeera to more of America may also mean bringing more of America to al-Jazeera.
There may be winners on both sides. We Americans do brag about our marketplace of ideas. The U.S. audience may gain access to the perspectives of a respected international network covering stories from regions of the world — sub-Saharan Africa, the various -stans and South Asia — that our national media has largely ignored. Al-Jazeera may gain insights into people that are far more diverse, engaged and welcoming than many of the images it broadcasts abroad.
Those still stridently opposing this alien investment in our homeland might remember the words of the great media strategist Lyndon Johnson. When asked why he had brought a longtime political antagonist into his camp, he replied: “Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”
More of Geller’s hateful ads were to appear on NYC subways ‘Killing Jews is Worship’ posters will soon appear on NYC subways and buses. After all the controversy and legal battles over this and other hateful ads produced by Geller and Spencer’s AFDI, MTA votes to ban all political ads. ”… New York follows in the footsteps of cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, which already have banned political ads on public transit…” (See: How New York City Buses Are Becoming Vehicles for Hateful Speech http://gawker.com/how-new-york-city-buses-are-becoming-vehicles-for-hate-1700075181?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_twitter&utm_source=gawker_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow )
It is ironic that Geller who hides hate speech under the claim of “defending freedom of speech” is personally responsible for reducing the amount of free speech in the public square. This sort of confusion about the meaning of free speech is not surprising since previously Pamela Geller Defended Free Speech By Calling for Censorship (of Al Jazeera), clearly Pamela Geller Does Not Understand Freedom of Speech.
Perhaps Pamela Geller should read my article Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech to gain a better understanding of this Constitutional freedom that we all share as citizens of this great country.
As I said in that article:
… What all of these folks don’t seem to understand is that freedom of speech does not come with freedom from condemnation of that speech, and condemnation of hate speech does not equal an attempt to take away the freedom of speech from those making such hateful speech. Condemnation is NOT implementing “a de facto blasphemy law dealing with Islam in the United States.”
It is perfectly reasonable to both disagree with, or even condemn the speech of another, and at the same time defend their right to engage in such speech. It is perfectly reasonable to ask an individual to consider the possible implications of hate speech. It is perfectly reasonable to defend freedom of speech, and yet make a judgement that some speech is not socially acceptable, even though it is legal. It is also perfectly reasonable to carry out peaceful protests against hateful speech. Any intimidation or violence carried out in response to speech is immoral, and illegal and also deserves condemnation and prosecution. …
Pamela Geller’s AFDI sponsored a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas on Sunday, May 3rd. Tragically a couple of extremists showed up and began shooting. Thank God they only injured one individual before being shot and killed by a policeman. What will be the fallout from this event remains to be seen, but Geller insists that she did this to defend freedom of speech. In the past few days, this is already sparking a debate on the line between free speech and hate speech, and it is very possible that Geller’s hate speech will once again reduce the amount of free speech in the public square.
Jonathan Holmes is a Fairfax columnist and former presenter of Media Watch.
For better or for worse, most Australians are not Charlie Hebdo
Some issues aren’t complicated. They are simple black and white. The murder of 17 French innocents, 10 of them simply for being involved in a publication that ridiculed Islam, is an outrage. It should be condemned. Je suis Charlie.
But is it so simple? The Andrew Bolt doesn’t think so. We Australians are NOT , he declares, because we don’t have the guts: “This fearless magazine dared to mock Islam in the way the left routinely mocks Christianity. Unlike much of our ruling class, it refused to sell out our freedom to speak.”
Bolt omits to point out that the murdered editors and cartoonists of were quintessential lefties themselves, who mocked and lampooned the French state and the Roman church with every bit as much gusto as they ridiculed Islam.
Attorney-General George Brandis.
But Bolt is certainly right that most Australians have shown quite recently that they don’t share Charlie Hebdo’s uncompromising views on freedom of speech.
It is unlawful in Australia to do anything in public – including the publishing of articles and cartoons – that is “reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group”, if “the act is done because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin” of that person or group.
There are exemptions to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act for the publication of fair comment on a matter of public interest, published “reasonably and in good faith”. But as Bolt discovered when Justice Mordecai Bromberg found him in breach of the act, whether an article is covered by that exemption depends not just on its accuracy, but on whether “… (in)sufficient care and diligence was taken to minimise the offence, insult, humiliation and intimidation suffered by the people likely to be affected …”
Bolt had not taken enough care, Justice Bromberg found, and not just because he had been inexcusably sloppy with his facts. “The derisive tone, the provocative and inflammatory language and the inclusion of gratuitous asides” in the articles complained of satisfied him that “Mr Bolt’s conduct lacked objective good faith”.
But I was one of those who agreed with Bolt that to make it unlawful merely to offend someone, on any grounds, is an assault on freedom of speech. I found Justice Bromberg’s judgment disturbing, and initially I supported the Abbott government’s determination to revise the act.
When Attorney-General George Brandis published his proposed revision, I changed my mind – it seemed to me that it went absurdly far in the opposite direction. (By contrast, I have no problem with the much simpler bill on the table, sponsored by Senator Bob Day and others.)
But most submissions on the government’s draft bill went further. Any revision to the act was opposed by almost every influential ethnic group; every lawyers’ organisation in the land; the entire human rights and social welfare establishment; and by Jewish, Christian and Muslim organisations. Seldom has a proposed legislative reform met such universal condemnation.
In the face of that chorus of disapprobation, and to Bolt’s disgust, the government backed down, and the act stands.
Now, of course, the federal Racial Discrimination Act does not apply to acts that concern a person’s religion – though the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act does.
Nevertheless, the very Australians who are most likely to be out on the streets today with their “Je suis Charlie” placards made it clear less than a year ago that in their view, at least so far as race is concerned, publications should not be free to give offence or to insult.
Let’s be clear: Charlie Hebdo set out, every week, with the greatest deliberation, to offend and insult all kinds of people, and especially in recent years the followers of Islam, whether fundamentalist or not.
Look at some of the magazine’s recent covers: An Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood protester in a hail of gunfire crying “The Koran is shit – it doesn’t stop bullets”; a full-on homosexual kiss between a Charlie cartoonist and a Muslim sheik with the ironic headline “Love is stronger than hate”; a naked woman with a niqab thrust up her backside.
Most of those who were so outraged by Bolt’s columns about fair-skinned Aboriginal people, and supported the use of the law against him, would find themselves equally appalled by much of Charlie Hebdo’s output. Even though the late Stephane Charbonnier, the magazine’s editor, inhabited the opposite end of the political spectrum, he shared Bolt’s determination to shock the chattering classes.
But whereas Bolt is an unashamed supporter of the Abbott government, Charlie Hebdo mocks all governments. If it were published in Melbourne rather than Paris, the magazine would be scathing about Australia’s new anti-terrorist laws, under which the government can guard all of its secrets from scrutiny and threaten any who reveal them with five years in prison, but we can keep none of ours from the government.
Yet the new laws have been greeted with tepid acceptance by most Australians. In protesting their over-reach, the media have been largely on their own. In this respect, too, nous ne sommes pas Charlie.
Perhaps that’s not surprising, when so many commentators are prepared to wind up the scary rhetoric. “A de facto world war is under way, and it has everything to do with Islam,” declared Fairfax’s Paul Sheehan on Monday.
That the murder of Charlie Hebdo’s staff was a hideous crime is beyond debate. It should be treated as such. But talk of world war brings with it a grave risk: that it will legitimise the remorseless encroachment by government on our liberties.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, the saying goes. But the enemies of Islamic fundamentalism are not necessarily the friends of free speech.
For better or for worse, most Australians ne sont pas Charlie. It’s not such a black and white issue, after all.
Written by: Letitia McQuade
After proposing then abandoning a raft of manifestly unpopular changes to section 18c of Australia’s racial vilification laws last year, certain members of the LNP have recently relaunched their attack on 18C, under the rather disingenuous pretext of championing free speech.
In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo attacks Cory Bernardi has been out there again, calling for the LNP’s precious 18c amendments to be put back on the table.
Like pit bulls with lock jaw, a gang radical right wing MP’s including Cory Bernardi, George Brandis, Dean Smith, liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, and Family First’s Bob Day have been lobbying hard to ensure we Aussies have the right to engage in hate speech.
Just for clarity, lets take a closer look at what it is they want to change. Specifically they want to have the words “offend, insult and humiliate” removed from the act.
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT 1975 – SECT 18C
Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin
(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
So in effect what they are proposing is that it would just fine to PUBLICLY “offend, insult and humiliate” someone based on their race, colour or national or ethnic origin, so long as you don’t “intimidate” them.
I think it’s fairly safe to say that most people would find public insult and humiliation somewhat intimidating; so we can assume that the interpretation to be given to the word “intimidate” under the proposed amendments would be “to directly physically threaten”, rather than “to emotionally threaten”.
If these changes were ushered in, then it theoretically it would be OK if I were to call Tony Abbott filthy, unwashed, lazy, whinging, snaggle toothed, imperialist, stuck up, limey British scum? And that would be totally OK, because I am all I am doing is using racial stereotypes to abuse him, but I am not actually threatening to do him any harm. Of course the truth is that most British people work hard, wash regularly, visit dentists, aren’t seeking to expand their empire, and complain in relatively appropriate measure..:-), but hey why let the truth get in the way of good story.
Unfortunately what these right wing warriors are failing to understand is that the Racial Discrimination Act is not really about protecting the feelings of “white people”. It was drafted in the knowledge that there are ethnic groups in this country that really suffer as a result of constant racial abuse and the negative stereo types that such abuse fosters.
To our shame there are many Australians, (most notedly our indigenous brothers and sisters, followed closely by those of African or “middle eastern appearance”) that regularly suffer systemic discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of their race. They are the same Australians that regularly suffer physical abuse in public spaces, and higher rates of detention and incarceration on account of their race. So please let’s not minimise this, these are real consequences, for real people!
Free speech is a noble ideal, but in order for something to be truly free it must come without a cost. Just because hate mongers like Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and the oh so white fleet of right wing MP’s don’t personally pay the price for their racist tirades doesn’t mean someone isn’t picking up the tab. And too frequently those picking up the tab are the among the poorest and most marginalised members of our Australian family.
If you happen to belong to one of those oft targeted minorities the Racial Discrimination Act may not offer a lot of protection, but it is the thin end of a very important wedge. It is a line in the sand that says NO, we as Australians do NOT want a society where racial vilification and negative racial stereotypes are permitted to fester and stew in the public sphere. We want an Australia that says racists need to be ashamed, knowing that they are on the wrong side of what is morally decent, and on the wrong side of the law. We want an Australia where vile hate speech does land Andrew Bolt in court and up on charges. Mostly we want an Australia that is for the fair go for everyone regardless of race, colour or creed.
So Mr Bernadi, I say this to you on behalf of all decent, fair minded Australian’s….. GET BACK IN YOUR BOX!!!, we don’t want the hate you are peddling!!!
‘It’s almost like the Thought Police’: Grandmother, 60, CHARGED by Australian police after she allegedly placed THIS tiny G20 sticker on a pole in Cairns
- Cairns grandma Myra Gold charged over allegedly placing a sticker on a pole
- Four police officers raided Ms Gold’s home over the sticker
- She was charged with wilful damage to public property
- Sticker protested G20 meeting in Cairns at the weekend
- The sticker said ‘G20 benefits the 1%’
- ‘It’s almost like the Thought Police’, Ms Gold said
A Cairns grandmother was charged with wilful damage to property after she allegedly placed a sticker on a pole.
Four police officers raided the home of Myra Gold, 60, on August 24.
The sticker, which was found by police on a pole at Raintree Shopping Centre, said ‘G20 benefits the 1%’.
Ms Gold told Daily Mail Australia the raid was an attack on freedom of speech.
‘It’s almost like the Thought Police,’ she said.
Myra Gold (left), pictured with a climate change poster, and the G20 stickers she was charged over.
As many as 800 extra police are being sent to Cairns to guard the G20 finance ministers’ meeting, held on September 20 and 21 at the city’s Convention Centre.
The finance ministers of the G20 – an influential international body – will hold a meeting in Cairns at the weekend.
As many as 800 extra police are set to arrive in Cairns early this week.
‘Over in Europe when they have things like this, they have thousands of people turn up to protest,’ she said.
‘They’re allowed to protest. They understand people have a different different view.’
Ms Gold said she has no memory of placing the sticker on the pole.
She said she never expected this could happen to her.
‘(It) was quite stunning,’ she said.
Ms Gold is scheduled to appear in court on October 1.
A spokeswoman for Queensland police refused to comment further because the matter is before a court.