The censorship craziness that has beset the Australian Government continues to know no bounds with news that a Government body has set its sites on Encyclopedia Dramatica (ED.)
The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is threatening legal action against the satirical site on the grounds that ED constitutes racial hatred and is in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, reports Fairfax Media.
That may well be true, except for one major fact: ED is not an Australian site, and it is not hosted in Australia.
But it gets worse, because if wasting tax payer money threatening a site over which it has no jurisdiction isn’t stupid enough, AHRC is also getting dodgy legal advice and is claiming that Gutnick vs Dow Jones means that ED and its owners can be targeted in Australia.
As the EFA rightly points out, Gutnick v Dow Jones was a civil defamation matter, where as any AHRC action would be a public matter and not pertain to defamation, so the precedent doesn’t apply.
Love or hate ED, actions like this continue to make the Australian Government, and its statutory bodies an international laughing stock. Australia has zero jurisdiction here, and if it was a criminal matter it would be best left for the Australian Federal Police to liaise with the FBI; of course that isn’t going to happen because unlike Australia, the United States actually believes in free speech, and Australian law doesn’t apply there…along with the laws of similar countries such as Iran, North Korea and China.
The ultimate irony, or is that fail, is that Australia has a body like the AHRC that fails to recognize that free speech is one of the most important, fundamental human rights of them all.
Goebbels would be proud.
The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.
Justice Robert H Jackson.