‘Free speech’, its need and its putative demise, garnered extensive media coverage in the latter part of 2011 and early 2012. Critics of the Leveson Inquiry in the United Kingdom warned that free speech was at stake if the government decided to regulate the press – as if hacking the voice mail of a missing schoolgirl constituted free speech. Andrew Bolt in his address to the media immediately following his guilty verdict for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and in his newspaper articles and blogs that followed, argued that his, and everyone else’s free speech would be curtailed following Justice Bromberg’s ruling. The conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has taken up the cause of free speech with gusto. The release of the Finkelstein report into the press media, and its major recommendation to establish the statutory body the News Media Council, had pundits from all sides of the political spectrum prophesising the death of free speech.
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