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Freedom of speech and its limits

Dr Katharine Gelber
Date and time: 
11 July, 2009 - 14:15

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"The topic of my presentation today, freedom of speech, was also a central concern to Dame Roma. But, as I will argue here, she too became convinced that freedom of speech ought not to be held as an absolute, as an attribute to be defended and protected above all else. As is the case across the field of human rights debates, the reality of human rights advocacy is a complicated and multilayered one. In this reality there are few rights that are best seen as absolutely deserving of protection all of the time. This is because the protection of human rights and the prevention of discrimination need at times to focus not on hard line drawing, but instead on the protection of concrete rights, belonging to real people, in everyday circumstances. The nuances and complexities of society require us to do that.

Before discussing how and why that might be so, I want first to focus on freedom of speech as a value. I want to explore a few of the reasons why we should consider freedom of speech as vitally important in Australia today."

... more in the transcript below.

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