Free Speech Coalition slams suppression of gunman's manifesto

Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Monday, 25 March 2019, 6:55p.m.

A debate has sparked over where to draw the line between protecting free speech and protecting people of harmful speech.

The Chief Censor has declared the Christchurch gunman's so called manifesto objectionable, meaning it's illegal for anybody to own or share it.

Race relations expert Paul Spoonley has called for the Government to go further and introduce specific hate speech laws

The Free Speech Coalition’s Dr David Cumin says that common sense needs to prevail.

He told Larry Williams that it is misguided to push the information underground and turn it into something taboo.

“What we should be doing is analysing it and countering it and putting out material that directly challenges the ideas and puts out better ideas, rather than having the people who are sympathetic to his views already have it, while those who are disaffected and on the edges not able to have counter material.”

Dr Cumin says that other terrorist manifestos have not been banned, and material such as Mein Kampf is still available. 

“There seems to be a somewhat inconsistent approach to this.”

He feels  there are wider political issues here.

"That is a certain set of elites decided what we can and can't see, and what we are and aren't allowed to share, and I think that is a very dangerous road to go down." 

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