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Court decision a blow for free speech

Court decision a blow for free speech

Stephen Franks Thursday, 11 August 2005

Press Releases - Crime & Justice

The High Court decision may be temporarily good for democracy this week but it's bad for free speech in the long run and respect for the rule of law, ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"When a judge feels free to substitute his opinion of newsworthiness and entitlement to coverage for that of a private broadcaster, who has volunteered to time for a political debate, what's to stop the next judge deciding who isn't fit to be heard.

"Will the judge take the logical and perhaps necessary next step and order private news media to run issues they decide to leave alone entirely to avoid having to spend time and money on their lawyers second guessing a court's opinion on who deserves coverage?

"Of course if judges wanted a legitimate sphere in which to make rulings like this the target should be state radio and television.

"It's legitimate for taxpayers to wonder why requirements for balance are so obviously ignored by state radio that should be non- partisan.

"Good Luck to Messrs Dunne and Anderton. A pity about freedom of speech and property rights," Mr Franks said.


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