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Freedom Of Speech Means Just That

Freedom Of Speech Means Just That

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks, and ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy, today urged Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor to stick to his guns in continuing to defend free speech against professionals who think it shouldn't extend to health issues.

"Good on you for refusing to buckle, so far. Those health professionals who demand that you stymie the proposed obesity conference - sponsored by the Advertising Standards Authority - may be well-meaning, but so are most people who think it would be less troublesome to gag those who disagree with them," Mr Franks said.

"They seem to think that, by reminding us they are only interested in health, they can stop public debate by anyone other than themselves.

"ACT stands for freedom of speech. We defend health professionals' right to argue against junk foods just as strongly as we defend the rights of ordinary New Zealanders to hear the other points of view - and to advertise, and eat, junk food if that is what they want.

"Curtailing freedom of speech for everyone isn't justified just because, for some, it would be easier than saying `no, that's enough'.

"Freedom means accepting that people can choose to do things that might not be good for them, as long as they don't harm others - anyway, you might be wrong about what's good for others," Mr Franks said.

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