Politics

Oct 15, 2008

On freedom of speech and Gerald Fredrick Toben

We should be speaking up for him now, rather than waiting for a more appealing victim of this attack on free speech.

Holocaust denier Gerald Fredrick Toben remains in prison in the UK and will return to court this Friday. He will not be tried before 2009 at the earliest and, given the apparently fanatical zeal of German prosecutors, is likely to remain in prison until then.

Media coverage of his case remains virtually zero. This partly reflects the fact that the natural constituency to speak up on his behalf, the Left and human rights advocates, are the ones most likely to find his views especially repugnant. Julian Burnside called last week for the Government to give him all assistance to which he was entitled as an Australian citizen. Otherwise, there’s been near-total silence. Right-wing commentators, who are normally happy to defend free speech when it’s being used against the Left and minorities, have also been peculiarly silent.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions

7 comments

Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “On freedom of speech and Gerald Fredrick Toben

  1. Harry

    Thanks Bernard. Please keep pressing on this issue. Many of us have protested against Indonesian treatment of West Papuans, Chinese treatment of Tibetans, Israeli treatment of Christian Palestinians, Burma, etc. Such protests may well be illegal in the country protested against. One Australian who did not even have a passport has been extridited to USA for an internet offence.
    The Australian government should urgently set rules so that Australian internet users and human rights activists know their vunerability to extradition and/or seizure during overseas travel.

  2. k8

    Julian Burnside’s portrayal in Bastard Boys was pretty amusing, but I still sometimes wonder if he is the only human being left in Australian public life.

  3. Daniel

    If only more Holocaust deniers publically exposed themselves as frauds and liars a la David Iriving in the Lipstadt trial. This kind of legal action, I fear, is not only a dangerous restriction on free speech, but probably increases interest in the Deniers’ works and theories. A dangerous thing all around in my opinion.

  4. Shane

    Is everybody too scared to comment or jaust all comments have been ‘moderated out’ like mine??

  5. Harry

    Thanks Bernard. Please keep pressing on this issue. Many of us have protested against Indonesian treatment of West Papuans, Chinese treatment of Tibetans, Israeli treatment of Christian Palestinians, Burma, etc. Such protests may well be illegal in the country protested against. One Australian who did not even have a passport has been extridited to USA for an internet offence.
    The Australian government should urgently set rules so that Australian internet users and human rights activists know their vunerability to extradition and/or seizure during overseas travel.

  6. Lazarus

    There are some people, such as Tobin, who have forfeted the right to free speech. If speech is a lie it should not masquarade as the right to free speech. Let our gaurdians of the right to free speech find something better to do than support the rights of dills and liars.

  7. Kevin Charles Herbert

    You’re right Bernard. The Rudd Government’s handling of this matter to date has been very ordinary. Tobin is a complete dill, but that doesn’t mean that his rights can be trampled on.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...