News Corp is circling the wagons. A selection of the Murdoch media, today.
Jennifer Oriel, The Australian:
“Free speech was forged as a right through centuries of bloody wars. Western history brims with the names of martyrs who sacrificed their lives so the children of the enlightenment — you and I — would be liberated from the yoke of censorship to discern the truth and state it openly. The 21st-century Left is waging new war on free speech by eroding its legal protections and degrading its cultural value …
“Like the censors of old, Australia’s censorial class is brimming with mediocrities who perceive [Bill] Leak’s unfettered talent as a threat to their illegitimate power.”
Andrew Bolt, the Herald Sun:
“Just last week, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, with the backing of the state-funded ABC, asked the Australian Press Council to punish cartoonist Bill Leak for drawing a cartoon in The Australian which highlighted the shocking levels of child abuse in Aboriginal communities.
“Worse, our Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, actually urged Australians to complain to his Human Rights Commission about Leak, so it could take legal action.
“How can we have a commission for human rights that actually hates free speech?
“And, again, this so-called Liberal government wouldn’t defend either Leak or his freedom. In fact, two ministers (Ken Wyatt and Nigel Scullion) condemned him, and not one stuck up for him.”
Chris Mitchell, The Australian:
“Je suis Bill. Seriously. Anyone who signed up to the ‘Je suis Charlie’ meme needs to know that the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo week in week out published material that offended Muslims and insulted their religion. This is what real cartoonists do. They push, prod and offend in the world of contested ideas. If your favourite cartoonist is just publishing work to get the applause of like-minded readers, he or she is not doing their job. Je suis Bill.”
For some reason, the columnists at the Oz believe the right to free speech only works one way — they get to say whatever they want, but when others use their free speech to criticise what is written or drawn in their pages, that’s not allowed. They’re free to say what they like, and others are free to criticise it. But two weeks after the cartoon was published, perhaps it’s time to use all that freedom to talk about something else.