From a recent ABC news article, this reply by Tim Wilson makes a very important point about free speech. Scott McIntyre was an SBS Journalist who some contentious tweets, on ANZAC Day, which I thought were a fairly reasonable (though sharp) reminder that there is a bigger picture. It’s no surprise to NFGworld readers that I do not consider the ANZACs holy, they’re not faultless people doing only good, hard, dangerous work. They’re warriors, and I do not believe it is in our society’s best interests to hold them in so high esteem that they cannot be questioned. Mr. McIntyre was fired from his job as a result of these tweets.
That’s Greg Barns followed by Tim Wilson. Damn, but that second quote is important in every debate about free speech.
In case you can’t read the image above, it says:
Every time someone gets fired for blogging, or bumper stickers, or letters to the editor, I worry about its chilling effect, the message it sends that your speech can get you in trouble even when it’s relatively harmless.
I couldn’t agree more. But the solution isn’t to abolish codes of conduct. The solution is to build a clearer and more robust respect for open and free debate in Australia so businesses and governments don’t feel compelled to act every time social media explodes because someone says something ill advised.