This news agency story is relevant even to Americans, because the American left-wing establishment is very much in favor of adopting domestically progressive policies observed in other countries. So far, speech that “offends, insults, humiliates, or (supposedly) intimidates” is commonly outlawed on university campuses, but it is by no means beyond the ambitions of American progressives to try to enact such curbs on expression here.
A popular right-wing commentator was found guilty Wednesday of breaking Australian discrimination law by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.
Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled that fair-skinned Aborigines were likely to have been “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations” included in columnist Andrew Bolt‘s two articles published by the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne in 2009.
Bromberg ruled out Bolt and his publisher’s defense under a clause of the Racial Discrimination Act that exempts “fair comment.” Bromberg said he will prohibit reproduction of the offending articles and will consider ordering the newspaper to publish a correction if it doesn’t print an apology.
Bolt, who writes opinion pieces for newspapers around Australia and hosts a nationally broadcast weekly public affairs television program, described the ruling as a defeat for freedom of speech.
“This is a terrible day for free speech in this country,” he told reporters outside court.
Andrew Bolt’s Blog