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Ficklestein strikes again — Here’s a prime example of why regulating free speech is a hypocritical bad joke.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight — the Australian Press Council manages media standards in Australia, but isn’t doing it well enough according to Mr Finklestein (and fellow regulators), who want it overhauled. They want newspapers to be regulated so they can be as trusted as the ABC “is”.*  So Finklestein thinks the ABC complaints process works well, and the APC one is too weak.

This week the ABC announced it was fine to equate skeptics to pedophiles as a researched comment by a host on a “science” show, while at the same time, the APC ruled that it was not fine for a skeptic who used loose satirical colourful language in a newspaper column to repeat a quote from an angry farmer who used the word pedophile to describe wind-farm operators.

 ABC sets lower standards bar

DRAWING comparisons to pedophiles to attack your opponents is acceptable under the ABC complaints process – held up as the ideal model by media inquiry head Ray Finkelstein – but has been ruled out of order by the newspapers’ existing regulatory body.

But two decisions this week reveal the APC is tougher on commentators who compare opponents with pedophiles.

James Delingpole wrote an article on May 3 about windfarms:

(he) … quoted an unnamed sheep farmer who said that the “wind-farm business is bloody well near a pedophile ring. They’re f . . king our families and knowingly doing so.”

In response Delingpole says: Australia you are so totally gay. “Australia handed in its testicles to the progressives long ago.” (the)  state broadcaster ABC is so hysterically left-wing it makes the BBC look like Fox News… ” like the anonymous sheep farmer I quoted, I feel that the “level of offensiveness” is entirely justified when applied in the context of perhaps the vilest, greediest, most corrupt, mendacious and wantonly destructive industries currently operating anywhere in the world.”

Me, I’d prefer if people left the word pedophilia for debates about pedophiles. But that is for the public to discuss, not a committee to decide. The point here is the hypocrisy of “regulators”. The APC is supposedly not strong enough, but it objected to Delingpole using the term “a kind of government-endorsed Ponzi scheme” to describe how union superfunds profit from wind farms that would not exist if governments didn’t force Australians to pay for them. Was that in the public interest?

The APC found those comments above by Delingpole on May 3 were highly offensive and not justified in the public interest. But these comments below, made on the ABC during something called a “Science” show, are, according to the ABC, quite ok.

During a November 24 broadcast of The Science Show, Williams said: “What if I told you that pedophilia is good for children, or that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science.”

An ABC spokeswoman again defended its decision when asked if the APC adjudication meant the ABC might review it. “The ABC acknowledges there are climate scientists who question the core thinking about climate science. The ABC gives them . . . air time. The weight of our coverage, however, rests with the weight of the broad consensus, focusing on the extent of the impact of climate change and the speed and nature of human interventions required in response.”

The ABC gives skeptics “air time”? Sure, any time the ABC can mock, pillory, or misrepresent skeptics, it does, and any time it can inform the public, investigate the issues raised by skeptics, or interview Novel Prize winning skeptics, it goes out of its way not to (we even caught them at it on camera, in our house, look out for that Uncut video, next…).

Finklestein wrote the 400 page Finklestein report,  for the Independent Media Commission. Mr. Ray Finkelstein QC, a left-wing former Federal Court Judge with no media experience wants not-just-newspapers, but bloggers with as many as 40 hits a day to be regulated. (Except the ABC and SBS  of course — which the regulating class are quite happy with already, thank you.)

John Roskam weighs in:

he APC today declared that it was unacceptable to compare renewable energy to a Ponzi scheme, and that journalists should not be allowed to quote people who equate others with pedophiles. According to the APC “the level of offensiveness is so high that it outweighs the very strong public interest in freedom of speech.” It follows a decision last week where the APC dictated to Andrew Bolt what he is allowed to write about climate change.

“This is extraordinary on two levels. Firstly, there should never be an ‘offensiveness’ test for freedom of speech. Freedom of speech means nothing at all if it doesn’t allow for discussion that some people find offensive. Secondly, only this week the ABC declared there is nothing wrong with equating climate sceptics to pedophiles. This is a clear case of double standards depending on which side of the climate debate you are on,” says Mr Roskam.

Who are the targets of Finkelstein?

Make no mistake, the axis of evil who expose the libertarian flaws of free speech are climate skeptics and the Murdoch Press (which publishes the propaganda, but allows skeptics a voice too. The crime!). The reason for the “regulation” was to target “News limited” see point 1.6, 3.11, 3.12, 4.32, 4.35, 4.9 and the top media problem was climate bias (but their problem is not with the bias — where pro-government bias is fine, but with the “balance” — meaning skeptics should be silenced) see points 1.6, 4.20, 4.31, 4,34, 4.35 4.41, 4.42. (See the Finklestein report).

Who needs an independent media commission? Not the people of Australia

Here’s a newsflash for the regulators:  there is already an an Independent Media Commission — it’s entirely voluntary and fully self-funding, and there are 22 million members, and they are free to tune in, turn off, or complain when they see that someone in the media “got something wrong”. They are even free (at least for the moment) to start blogs reporting on how awful and biased the news reporting is (like ABCnewswatch, AustralianClimateMadness and today too, Catallaxy, Jennifer Marohasy, PindanpostClimateScepticsParty, Climatenonconformist & The Stockmans View.) That’s as independent as it gets.

There is nothing independent about a government mandated “independent” commission. It is just another arm of big-government.

How much of our right to speak will they take away?

As much as we let them take.



* Spot the unreason. How do we know the ABC reports accurately? It is  “trusted” apparently, and Finklestein cites surveys going all the way back to 1966. As if a 46 year old survey of political bias still mean something about the current multichannel, billion dollar online hydra that the ABC has become.

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