Problem 3: Defamation and Freedom of Speech
The committee makes the following recommendations on the proposed programs: The Followers:
* An allegation made by a Western Australian MP, Greg Saunders, in Question Time, that a prominent, unmarried member of the Federal Cabinet is a homosexual. This committee sees no problem in discussing an allegation made by Greg Saunders, MP, in Question Time that a prominent, unmarried member of the Federal Cabinet is a homosexual. This conclusion has been derived from many factors. Firstly, in order for a defamation case to come to light, the defamatory material must likely cause ordinary, reasonable persons to think less of the plaintiff, expose the plaintiff to hatred or contempt, or cause the plaintiff to be shunned. In the current social climate, simply labeling an individual as a homosexual is not sufficient for a defamation case, especially when the individual is unmarried. The same may not be the case where a married individual is involved, where such a comment could imply them cheating on their spouse which may have religious or other connotations. Secondly, as the allegation was made in Question Time, Greg Saunders, MP, is afforded absolute privilege over his comments and is in no way liable under defamation. As long as the discussion surrounding the allegation is honest and a true representation of those comments, the radio broadcasters, although not generally regarded as having a duty to report to the public, may report on court and parliamentary proceedings. Thirdly, as the allegation does not single out an individual, it would be hard for a defamation suit to be brought against the radio broadcasters. Even though all the unmarried members of the Federal Cabinet could potentially bring action, stating that the allegation could be directed at them, the group would be deemed too large, although this could be dependent on the number of married and unmarried members. * A rumour that the Minister for Agriculture, Stephen Fields, took a bribe from a pro-logging group. This committee sees problems with discussing this issue on-air as and suggests the following precautions are taken. The broadcasting of such information is clearly a defamatory remark, made about an individual and published through the understanding of the listeners. As such a defence is essential. Ideally, if proof of the truth in this rumour, and the proof of the imputations implied by the rumour, could be obtained and documented, this would act as solid defence if a defamation suit was brought against the broadcasters. If the truth cannot be proven, the broadcasters would need to rely on presenting the story in the course of “government and political matters” and do everything they can to legitimize the rumour. As this rumour has gross implications to the community and to the Australian Public as a whole, it may be justifiable to deem that the broadcasters have a social and legal obligation to publish this news, as long as it is in serious, non-sensationalised conversation and not in a comedic fashion. The broadcasters must be careful when taking phone calls on this issue that listeners do not blow exaggerate the allegations rumoured to be true and do not overstep the boundary of academic political discussion. In 1986, Justice Michael McHugh, then of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, made the following observations: “Much can be said for the view that it is now reasonable to publish allegations concerning the official conduct of public officials if an ordinary person considering all the circumstances would think that the allegations were ‘probably true ’and needed to be investigated…If the conduct of public institutions and officials is to be properly scrutinized, it is only to be expected that erroneous, hurtful and defamatory statements will be made…Moreover, public officials undoubtedly have greater access to the media than other citizens. They are usually in a position to correct untrue...
...Freedom of speechFreedom to speak freely without censorship is what we call freedom of speech. Restrictions on the freedom to speak are sometimes called censorship. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations and restrictions. Our constitution does not define what it means by these rights. Perhaps one could rely on the definitions formulated in other jurisdictions. In addition, national laws of many countries, in various forms, recognize a basic freedom of speech.
The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognizes the right to freedom of speech as "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression."
European Convention on Human Rights (which was drawn up in 1951) for example has this to say:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas...
...Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one's own convictions and opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode. The freedom of speech is regarded as the first condition of liberty. Accepted that the right to freedom of speech is the essence of free society and it must be safeguarded at all time. Liberty to express opinions and ideas without hindrance, and especially without fear of punishment plays significant role in the development of that particular society and ultimately for that state. The freedom of expression includes all forms of art including cartoon, media-print and electronic etc.. The freedom of speech and expression do not confer an absolute right to express one's thoughts freely. Clause (2) of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution enables the legislature to impose certain restrictions on free speech such as security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to an offence, and sovereignty and integrity of India. Freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed not only by the constitution or statutes of various states but also by various international conventions like Universal Declaration of Human Rights, European convention on Human...
...Freedom of SpeechFreedom of speech is arguably the most precious gift of democracy. Democracy nurtures freedom of speech of its citizens. Citizens, in turn, safeguard democracy by voicing their protest against each and every violation of democratic rights of people. Evolution of democracy is nothing but a history of the extension of the right of freedom of speech from the limited group of privileged citizens to the universal right of every citizen granted by democratic regimes of the world. It should not be forgotten that the slaves had no franchise and freedom of speech till the 19th century and women got franchise and democratic rights only in the twentieth century in many democratic countries including Great Britain. Extent of freedom of speech can very well be considered the index of true spirit of democracy in a country.
One wonders as to what would have been the course of history of many countries in the world, had freedom of speech been completely denied to their inhabitants. One celebrated instance of freedom of speech and its historical outcome is forcefully described by Shakespeare in his drama "Julius Caesar". After the murder of Julius Caesar, some leading lights of Rome assembled at a place to offer justification for assassination of...
...Freedom of speechFreedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on "hate speech".
The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression." Furthermore freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law.
It is different from and not to be confused with the concept of freedom of thought.
The right to freedom of speech and expression
Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents and...
...History 12 – The Absolute Right of Free Speech
“I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
* Voltaire (18th Century French Philosopher)
A fundamental aspect of humanity is the capability of complex communication and logic, something which has deemed us far superior to creatures much stronger and faster than our relatively feeble bodies. However, mankind often falls prey to bigotry, believing in a single opinion and refusing to listen to any other, a flaw which has brought forth much devastation to society. The implementation of democracy allowed the gradual evolution of the freedom of expression, ensuring the right for people to speak their thoughts without fear of oppression or punishment. Yet with every right, there comes a responsibility; the freedom of speech is not absolute and shouldn’t be, for every word has power behind it and should be treated with such value. Allowing absolute freedom of speech would result in chaos, prohibiting punishment for threats, disturbances or false information. Freedom of expression should be defined as a basic human right, yet not an absolute one.
The earliest example of the oppression of opinion occurred in the first democracy of the world, Athens. The renowned philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death by the democratic government of Athens, for his views that...
It has always been said that the three fundamental needs of mankind are food, shelter and clothing. Although man cannot survive without these physical necessities, I believe that there is a fourth equally important need which is the free expression of self. These days, with the exception of the extremely poor, most people assign great importance to this need for expression of self. Everyday around the United States, there are either multiple articles being published about the restrictions imposed on freedom of speech, or public speeches given about people not being allowed to express their beliefs toward such everyday subjects like religion and war. In a way, it is ironic to note that even though they have all been allowed to publish these articles and speak about these controversial subjects, they still complain about not having freedom of speech. What they don’t realize is that there are places with much stricter policies toward freedom of expression that is even hard to imagine for an American. I have the honor of being from one of those places: The Islamic Republic of Iran.
Before drawing an analogy between the current state of freedom of speech in US and Iran, I believe it's necessary to examine the core concept of this freedom in greater detail. The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" states that "The free communication of...
...The Freedom of Speech
In the United States, citizens have several rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. In the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Freedom of Expression (speech) is recognized. The Freedom of Speech is the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint. The right to Freedom of Speech is not absolute and is common subject to limitations such as libel, slander, copyright violation, and revelation of information that is classified. While some believe Freedom of Speech violates the rights of others, it is one of the most fundamental rights that citizens of the United States exercise.
I. Freedom of Speech
Censorship is defined as "the control of information and ideas circulated within a society" ("What is Censorship?"). Many citizens of the United States believe that the Freedom of Speech should be restricted. These people think that speech should be limited to protect the feelings of others. As said by Arman J. Britton, "Words are just words until they are put in a certain context. However, even words taken out of context are just words and cannot be subjected to a banning every time it offends someone. The First Amendment doesn’t [SIC] take sides. Putting limits on freedom of...
...saying that freedom of speech is the first step of reaching to a free society . Despite the fact that people need to reveal their personal thoughts about politics and criticize it in any facet, many governments are against this right . In this essay I will outline the arguments for and against necessity of freedomspeech for a free society. As far as I concerned, with the enormous pace of development of technology in our modern-age and mass producing of TV, Radio and accessibility of most of the people to internet, people are aware of their rights and they have the knowledge that by criticizing and showing their disapproval they can obtain their needs. To give more details, I should mention that people have learnt from the history that by having the right to say their ideas and have the security after that, the society will be better place to live.
Added to that many politician are against the idea that people and media should be free to show their thoughts . They also create rules for banning the media and set some red lines for censorships . Additionally governments are afraid of being accused by media in any way . It is an undeniable fact that so many of politician want to hide their dark sides, so they prefer limit the people’s freedoms. I am strongly of the opinion that people and media should have the right to state their thoughts and criticize everyone in the government or even a...