Freedom of Speech

Faces of the day

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Holly from Dunedin writes: “My flatmate lost his phone on Saturday and a couple of police officers took a selfie and posted it on Facebook so he would know it had been found. It had over 11,000 likes in less than 24 hours.”

-The Herald

Today’s faces of the day represent how I feel about the New Zealand Police. Like every profession some are nicer than others but all up I think they are the good guys who put themselves in danger daily in order to protect us all.They are real people who choose to do a difficult and often thankless job where they can be easy targets for verbal abuse and violence. I admire them.

Not everyone shares my view and this week I was angered to see the below image posted on TDB.

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David Bain supporters stifle free speech

This is just disgusting

An author claims David Bain supporters are using bullying tactics to stop bookshops selling his book, which proclaims Robin Bain innocent of the mass murder.

Mike Stockdale, 79, of Palmerston North, has self-published 200 copies of The Bain Killings: Whodunnit? at a cost of around $5000.

But the two bookshops that agreed to sell the book have pulled it after being told they were exposing themselves to prosecution.

The bookshops, along with Trade Me, had received complaints from supporters that the book had legal faults.

Otago University Book Shop manager Phillippa Duffy said she had taken legal advice before withdrawing the book. Read more »

The Press on THAT t-shirt and being offended

The Press has a good editorial on THAT shirt in Canterbury Museum.

The offensive T-shirt currently causing a stir in Christchurch is not that easy to find.

It is tucked away in a booth by itself in a corner at the Canterbury Museum’s T-Shirts Unfolding exhibition – the booth itself would be easy to miss, and to miss it you need to negotiate your way past the warnings of offensive material at the entrance.

To get in to the booth, a security guard must lift a tape for you, and then you turn left, then right, then right again before the blasphemy of the shirt confronts you. On the front of it there is a nun who is pleased with herself, and on the back Jesus is described with a four-lettered anatomical noun. If the sight of the shirt offends you, you will have literally gone out of your way to be offended.

The shirt itself is offensive, of course, without a doubt and officially so. It was banned by the Chief Censor in 2008, so it would be unlawful to wear it in the street, where people have no choice whether to see it or not. A special dispensation was given by the censor to the museum to allow it to be shown in a curated exhibition charting the history and cultural phenomenon of the T-shirt.

Offence can only be taken not given…and for someone to be offended at the exhibition they must really, really want to be offended.

As I stated before I don’t find a t-shirt offensive, I find the designers of the t-shirt just a bit sad that they feel the need to try to offend people in such a crass manner.

So, why is the museum showing offensive material? The question is open to debate, and it surely is a debate worth having. And that is what museums and art galleries are for. The way the shirt is displayed is not in itself gratuitous, and those who have made a choice to enter the booth are perhaps those least likely to be bothered by it.

But some people will be bothered, not by viewing the shirt, but by the blasphemous nature of what it shows and the fact that it exists at all.

The offence they feel, which is real and sincere, is perhaps felt more deeply because the shirt is back on display and because a public body, such as the museum, has endorsed its inclusion in the exhibition.

Inevitable comparisons will be made – if the shirt had depicted the Prophet Muhammed, would it have been included? Why is it frowned upon to insult one person’s religion, but considered OK to denigrate another’s?

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The bully pulpit is destroying liberalism and freedom of speech

Jonathan Chait explains why political correctness and the bully pulpit of demanding silence from those whose ideas you oppose is creating a reign of terror on freedom of speech, and the worst offenders are those who should know better.

The p.c. style of politics has one serious, possibly fatal drawback: It is exhausting. Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics. Nor does it bode well for the movement’s longevity that many of its allies are worn out. “It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing,” confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. “There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks.” Goldberg wrote recently about people “who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists.” Former Feministing editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay told her, “Everyone is so scared to speak right now.”

That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.

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Bill Maher cuts loose at the liberal apologists – They should wear t-shirts that say “Je Suis part of the problem”

Bill Maher has become almost a lone voice in calling out liberal apologists.

He said Islam was the only religion that will “kill you if you…draw the wrong picture.”

They protested him speaking at their commencement.

Months later, Islamists shot up a French magazine for publishing, well, “the wrong picture.”

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” took Friday night as an opportunity to take something of an “I told you so” lap around the University of California Berkeley students who protested him coming to their campus.

Those liberal students resorted to “extreme bullying” like so many other liberals who want to impose limits on free speech when it offends them, Maher said.

If you’re one of those people, you’re not really a liberal, Maher added. You’re a “baby.”

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Labour on free speech, then & now

Labour has a less than honest approach to free speech.

Andrew Little issued the following statement on 8 January 2015:

“The attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper is an assault on democracy and freedom of expression. Violence against journalists is abhorrent and must not be tolerated in any form.

“This attack should be seen for what it is – an attempt to instil fear in those who would exercise their universal freedoms of thought and expression, which is all of us.

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The weasel words and hypocrisy of the NZ Herald

The NZ Herald has finally published their reasoning for refusing to publish the Charlie Hebdo front cover.

The New Zealand Herald won’t be publishing.

The Herald’s longstanding policy is not to publish imagery designed to cause offence to religious or ethnic communities.

It is not a response to the views of extremists or jihadists, which the Herald of course opposes, but to respect the sensibilities of mainstream believers.

Fairfax publications The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published the cover late in the day, while Daily Mail Australia opted against running the image, a decision made by its London head office.

Except their excuse is rank hypocrisy.

Exhibit A:

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Maybe their policy is more recent than 2010…but they did say longstanding policy…is 5 years longstanding when the Herald has been publishing since 1863. I should have thought that 5 years in a history of 152 year was but a blip, certainly not longstanding.   Read more »

Comment of the Day

From a commenter yesterday:

I sent the NZH some feedback as soon as I came across their article…

“To the New Zealand Herald. Your decision not to show the latest Charlie Hebdo cover while simultaneously using the headline “Defiant Charlie’s New Cover” is loathsome.

I note you have since changed the headline and removed the text where you state that you made this decision voluntarily, but the fact remains – you have withheld what will undoubtedly become a satirical statement of historical significance, and in doing so you contradict every facet of the right to immutable freedom of speech upon which you rely for your journalistic license.

Shame on your editorial decision.

Unlike Charlie Hebdo you cede your raison d’être to terrorist criminals and betray one of the most important societal influences that you should be upholding.

Demonstrating to society that freedom of speech can be successfully withheld from its participants via disgusting acts of violence is despicable.”

Well said.

Fairfax, TVNZ and TV3 all showed the cover.

The NZ Herald should rename themselves The Dhimmi Herald.

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Cowards attack German newspaper

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It is a civil war between an ideology and their freedom loving neighbours.

A German newspaper in the northern port city of Hamburg that reprinted caricatures of Prophet Muhammad from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was the target of an arson attack, according to police.

The regional tabloid daily, the Hamburger Morgenpost, was attacked on Sunday after it had splashed three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the massacre at the Paris publication, running the headline “This much freedom must be possible!”

“Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window,” a police spokesman told AFP news agency. “Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly”. Read more »

#JeSuisCharlie – Cartoons that ‘offend’

Freedom of speech and expression is important, terrorists cannot be allowed to win through intimidation and bullying.

They especially can’t be allowed to win over silly drawings.

12 people were killed in the terror attack in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, including the editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier.

Violence must not silence the media…or anyone else for that matter.

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KILLED: Charlie Hebdo Editor Stephane Charbonnier

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