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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Are there limits to freedom of speech?

It’s very easy to say there should be ‘no limits’ to freedom of speech. However, most people would agree it should be illegal to publish a person’s address along with instructions on the best ways to rough them up. Almost all countries have laws against harassment, or incitement to commit crimes, as well as restrictions on libel or slanderous speech.
But where should the ‘red line’ be drawn? If hate speech legislation is overly-strict, can it impinge upon the right to freedom of expression? Who should decide where the limits lie, and what is acceptable?
"In the west, free speech is often seen as a sacred right, but how can that be balanced with the need to protect minorities such as Muslims from hate? Scott Stephens, Waleed Aly and political theologian William Cavanaugh discuss.
We regularly hear the right to freedom of speech invoked. It can cover a multitude of rhetorical sins under the mantra 'everyone is entitled to their own opinion'.
This week, following terrorist attacks in France and Germany, several figures have raised banning Muslim immigration in Australia. These comments have been labelled by some as hateful and racist, while others have defended the speaker's right to speak their mind.
Is it time that we took a hard look at the negative effects of 'free speech'?"