Freedom of Speech in Journalism. Is there a limit?

Limiting the freedom of speech of journalists has become a controversial topic, especially considering that freedom of speech is an inherent human right, which allows individuals to speak without fearing damnation and censorship. In recent times, the Australian Government has tried to introduce legislation and reforms to restrict freedom of speech.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2012 re-asserted the importance of protecting free speech, saying in his address to the Institute of Public Affairs that, “without free speech, free debate is impossible and, without free debate, the democratic process cannot work properly nor can misgovernment and corruption be fully exposed.”

More recently, Scott McIntyre became the centre of a controversial debate over free speech, after using Twitter to inappropriately express his opinions of Anzac Day. On Anzac Day. This ultimately lead to his sacking at SBS and gained mixed reactions. Many people were disgusted by his opinion and tweets, while others believed that his sacking was unjust and that he was expressing his right of free speech, no matter how unpopular it was.

A reputable news outlet, such as SBS, would obviously understand the way in which social media works, and the ways that it allows users to voice their opinions. So the sacking of McIntyre over his opinions became the centre of the freedom of speech and journalism debate. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance are concerned that employers are being unjust.

The theory of free speech has caused much controversy over its use in journalism, questioning whether that extreme forms, such as Charlie Hebdo, are crossing the boundaries into plain old discrimination and should be punishable, or that these extreme views and unpopular opinions are what strengthened free speech and its interpretation as an inherent human right.


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