‘There is no such thing as freedom of speech’, ABC defends censoring feedback on transgender swimmers’ story
The ABC declares there is ‘NO freedom of speech in Australia’ as it defends the censorship comments left on a story about a transgender swimmer
- ABC Facebook page posts an article about a transgender swimmer Cassy Judy
- Page moderator bans users and hides comments for ‘hate speech’
- Moderator also states: ‘FYI, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Australia’
The ABC has boldly stated ‘there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Australia’ after banning users during a heated discussion about a transgender swimmer on the national broadcaster’s Facebook page.
The strident statement about freedom of speech came after some users were kicked off the page for alleged reasons transphobic and sexist comments.
A page moderator had previously urged users to be constructive and not mean when they commented on an article about a transgender swimmer.
In the article, swimmer Cassy Judy said she became a target for “ hurtful ” comments after McIver’s Ladies Baths in Coogee banned trans women before surgery.
The decision by McIver’s Ladies Baths to deny entry to some transgender women was the subject of an ABC article that sparked fierce debate and saw the public broadcaster banning some Facebook users from its page
A Facebook page moderator from ABC Australia claimed that ‘there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Australia’ in a heated online discussion on Thursday
The posts from the moderator of ABC Australia’s Facebook page that caused a stir
“I feel like it has been licensed to some people to say things that are quite hurtful to trans women like myself or nonbinary people in terms of gender,” she said. the ABC
“Things like …” You are what’s between your legs. “
‘For me, [the baths] was a place I went to before the operation to feel accepted and included as a woman. ‘
A first moderator post in the article thread asked people not to be ‘mean’ in response to the article, warning that the page ‘does not tolerate transphobic or sexist commentary’.
“We will hide comments and ban users without further notice if you violate our terms.”
It linked to the terms, which under the heading ‘ABC Online Communities’ said it encourages ‘rigorous debate and the sharing of different opinions’, but ‘expects members of the community to treat each other with respect and courtesy’.
The Terms also reserve the right to “ edit, delete, or in their sole discretion not to publish any Comments ” if they are deemed “ to violate any laws related to harassment, discrimination, racial defamation, privacy or contempt ” or be insulting, insulting or obscene; inappropriate, off topic, repetitive or annoying ‘.
From there, the moderator’s message became noticeably sharper, namely, “FYI – there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Australia.”
“Hate speech or transphobic comments will not be tolerated, regardless of your opinion.”
The topic of the ABC article that sparked heated debate was the views of transgender swimmer Cassy Judy
“If it’s your opinion, then maybe you should learn about equality, empathy, and equality.”
The moderator challenged people to make a formal complaint – providing one link – “If you are ‘angry’ about the deletion of your harmful comments and ‘your tax money’.”
The comments left in the discussion were heated, but appeared to be balanced – some supported Mrs. Judy’s statements and views, and some opposed.
Freedom of expression in public forums is complex and depends on the context, but Australia’s Human Rights Commission states, “The Australian Constitution does not explicitly protect freedom of expression.”
Freedom of expression in the media is widely accepted, but a major international statement believes it is balanced with the responsibility to show ‘respect for the rights or reputations of others’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABC and the author of the original article, Monique Schafter, for comment.